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B.s. Detector

We are developing a novel, genome-based, point-of-care synthetic biological device to simultaneously diagnose multiple infectious diseases that are prevalent worldwide.

Misdiagnosis of Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases such as typhoid fever, meningitis, pneumonia and visceral leishmaniasis have similar clinical manifestations as malaria, thus are often misdiagnosed in resource-poor developing countries lacking suitable medical diagnostic facilities. Failure to properly identify such diseases prevents medical professionals from administering appropriate treatments in a timely manner, which results in economic costs and human suffering. In order to address this issue, the iGEM 2014 team is developing a novel, genome-based, rapid point-of-care synthetic biological device to simultaneously diagnose multiple infectious diseases.

Global Impact

Recent studies show that malaria-endemic countries have a 1-3% decreased economic growth rate than countries without malaria. With a widening gap of prosperity between these group of countries, it is predicted that malaria cases will double over the next 20 years. From the public-health perspective, misdiagnosis of malaria results in excessive reporting of malaria cases, while those that mimic malaria are under-reported.

Patients who test negative for malaria but show its clinical signs and symptoms are often given antimalarial drugs despite their diagnosis. The over-prescription of antimalarials fosters an environment for the emergence of drug resistance and worsens the patient's condition.

Our Device, Our Idea

We are engineering Bacillus subtilis to generate chromophoric reporter proteins in response to pathogenic genetic markers.

Components of Our System