Production of Ready-to-use DNA-based Diagnostics Kit for Dengue Virus Detection

Period of Performance: 08/15/2003 - 02/14/2004


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Access Bio, Inc.
675 U.S. Highway 1
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Harvard Medical School
25 Shattuck Street
Yawkey Ctr, 55 Fruit Str
Boston, MA 02115
Institution POC


Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS) have emerged as the most important arthropod-borne viral diseases of humans. There are four distinct dengue virus types (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4), each capable of causing disease in humans. The conserved 3¡_-noncoding sequences of four dengue virus serotypes have been successfully utilized to develop as a TaqMan-based RT-PCR (funded by MIDRP STO A/L) to quantitatively identify dengue viruses from different regions of the world. The 0bjective of this phase I proposal is to transit the mature real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology of the dengue 3¡_-noncoding region based assay system (develop by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research) into a field deployable and user-friendly diagnostics device, so that the dengue diagnostics technology can be used in the dengue-endemic areas where the US military may be deployed in the future. Access Bio will optimize and scale up production of the fluorogenic RT-PCR reagent kits for serotype-specific dengue virus detection. We will develop lyophilized kit components, then evaluate the kit sensitivity, specificity, and stability using various concentrations of cultured dengue virus or dengue virus cDNA. Access Bio has developed a proprietary fluorescence technology that we will prove for this application. According to the Center for Disease Control, as of 1997 dengue became the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans. Its global distribution is comparable to that of malaria and an estimated 2.5 billion people live in areas at risk for epidemic transmission. Each year, tens of millions of cases of dengue fever occur and, depending on the year, up to hundreds of thousands of cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). In addition, increased travel by airplane provides the ideal mechanism for transporting dengue viruses between population centers of the tropics, resulting in a constant exchange of dengue viruses and other pathogens. After successful research in the phase I study and followed by extensive research in phase II, this system could be immediately commercialized through the US military, the Center for Disease Control, US public health agencies, the Pan American Health Organization, and health organizations in countries where dengue is endemic. If this technology is feasible, we will license out the products developed to partner larger diagnostics companies for marketing. Given the increased the spread of dengue virus epidemic transmission concerns, the products developed to detect serotype specific dengue virus will likely see considerable market opportunity.