Progress in New Zika Test

A new diagnostic test that can detect a Zika viral infection within 30 minutes could be headed to hospitals in the next year thanks to a partnership between the University of Central Florida and Orlando-based biotechnology startup Nano Discovery Inc.

That's according to a release this week from UCF.

Qun Treen Huo, a faculty member at UCF’s Department of Chemistry and NanoScience Technology Center, and a co-founder of Nano Discovery, developed the customizable immunoassay technology product called D2Dx. 

To perform the test, a special mixture containing gold nanoparticles detects the anti-Zika antibodies produced in Zika patients. 

The approach may offer faster diagnostics for other blood-borne diseases, as well, the university says.

Researchers say the D2Dx  technology occupies no more space than a small, portable printer. 

D2Dx’s portability and affordability may have implications for those seeking testing in remote, underserved regions. 

Zika tests currently on the market require hours or days to obtain the results, and large, expensive machines that are not readily available to hospitals and clinics.

In addition to getting an answer quicker, the test is easy to administer. 

The test requires only a few drops of blood from a finger prick. 

Early research and side-by-side comparison studies indicate the test is more sensitive than the current serology tests used for Zika diagnosis.

In the coming months, UCF researchers say they expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review D2Dx for emergency-use authorization. 

Once approval is secured, Nano Discovery will manufacture the test and deliver it to market.

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