Japan-based Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo has developed the world's first kit to directly detect the presence of Zika virus in blood samples.
The newly developed kit is based on an immunochromatographic assay which is an analytical method used to visually determine the presence of the target molecule by the changing colour of a test strip.
The Zika virus outbreak in 2015 affected more than four million people on the South and North American continents, causing symptoms like fever and conjunctival congestion.
Infection of a pregnant woman can cause the fetus to develop microcephaly, which is an abnormal smallness of the head causing incomplete brain development.
Tanaka's rapid detection kit can detect the virus in ten or 15 minutes and is a simple and a cost-effective method.
The kit is based on antibody screening technology and features colloidally spread nano-sized gold particles to cause a colour change.
It is developed with antibodies to target nonstructural protein (NS1) associated with the Zika virus, exposing it at a concentration of 102TCID50/mL, a median tissue culture infectious dose denoting the virus concentration.
Tanaka's new kit requires the test strip to be dipped into the test sample to enable a rapid ZIKV detection.
Unlike the existing Zika virus detection method, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), it does not require special equipment.
Image: A view of Tanaka's new Zika virus detection kit. Photo: courtesy of ACN Newswire.