Argentine company launched a kit that allows detecting dengue in real time

How to detect dengue virus in real time? The company Biocientifica has just launched the Schep Dengue Screen, the first R&D kit in the Argentine industry based on real-time PCR technology. It has already been approved by ANMAT and will be available to laboratories in the coming weeks. “We are producing the first batch and will deliver it free of charge to interested parties. From then on, we will launch ourselves into the market in general”, he explains to UNQ Science News Agency biochemist Héctor Magno Quiroz, Director of Research and Development at the company.

How it works

To clarify the subject, Quiroz details that the kit is a one-step qualitative test, which provides the necessary reagents for reverse transcription, amplification and detection of specific regions of dengue virus types 1, 2, 3 and 4.”It works with the RT-PCR technique in real time, from RNA samples extracted from human serum, for dengue diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance.”.

As detailed, the kit uses enzymes that are only activated at high temperatures. “This reduces the chance of non-specific reactions during assay setup.” In addition, it includes the necessary components for the amplification of the human RNase P gene, as an internal control, which allows identifying a possible inhibition of the PCR reaction, detecting inconveniences in the process of extraction and purification of nucleic acids and verifying correct performance of the kit. In this sense, to amplify and detect the viral genome, specific primers and probes were designed. “which allow for better identification”.

The brand new development was entirely carried out by an interdisciplinary Bioscientific R&D team and expands the portfolio of the Schep line for molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Bioscientific: a commitment to knowledge

This Argentine company was founded by Dr. Roberto Sedlinsky with the objective of developing, producing and commercializing in vitro diagnostic reagents for human diseases in Argentina. The first products were intended for the diagnosis of autoimmune and infectious diseases that were uncommon or difficult to detect and measure plasma proteins of clinical interest. But thanks to advances in laboratory techniques, in 2002 they inaugurated the molecular biology division and began manufacturing kits for molecular diagnosis.

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In 2020, they launched a molecular biology diagnostic platform, through the in vitro diagnostic kit “Schep SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Duo”, for the diagnosis of COVID-19. And so they designed “Schep SARS-CoV-2 Multi-FAST”, in a fast multiplex format. “Today, our R&D department is developing four new products for detecting viral diseases by real-time PCR”, highlights Biocientífica’s R&D director.

A global health issue

Dengue belongs to the Flavivirus genus and is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It is estimated that 50 million infections occur each year. In the rest of the world, this virus represents one of the causes of febrile illness among travelers returning from subtropical areas of the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia.

The infection can be asymptomatic or manifest with a wide clinical spectrum, ranging from inapparent or febrile forms with body aches to severe forms that include shock and impaired hemostasis with or without bleeding.

In this sense, it is essential to detect the virus as soon as possible and to be able to make an efficient and accurate diagnosis for clinical care. It also contributes to early detection of severe cases, case confirmation and differential diagnosis with other infectious diseases, surveillance activities, outbreak control, pathogenesis, academic research, vaccine development and clinical trials.

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