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AQSENS Saliva Project – A Method to Manage and Eradicate Infectious Diseases

AQSENS Saliva Project – A Method to Manage and Eradicate Infectious Diseases

Project Lead(s)
Associate Professor
Project Background 

In the quest to achieve malaria eradication in the Sub-Saharan Africa, early detection is key in disease surveillance and management. Aqsens Health Limited has therefore developed an AI-assisted saliva test for Malaria diagnostics using phage-based TRF detection with an AQ-MOBI mobile platform. The rationale of this technology is based on a novel data that human sweat and saliva contains millions of encapsulated vesicles (EVs) with wealth of molecular information including viruses, bacteria and their interaction with the host immunity. The sweat and saliva EVs depict personal molecular signatures which share biomarkers with other human body fluids. This solid data-based evidence offers us to hypothesize that EVs secreted by the mosquitos carrying Plasmodium spp. provides a concrete way to build cost effective and early-stage Malaria diagnostics via the established and advanced intelligent saliva and bandage-based solutions. 

Objectives/Research Areas 

The aim of this study is to develop the first data-based screening test for malaria that is both based on systematic clinical data, in which non-biased screening analysis of a large number of human saliva samples has guided the novel test targets, and is also cheaper to produce and run than currently available screening methods.  

Specifically, this study seeks to: 

  1. screen samples for detection of Plasmodium spp. infections using the AQ-MOBI and blood smear method  
  2. estimate the sensitivity and specificity of the AQ-MOBI method compared to the blood smear based diagnostics, and accounting for PCR-based malaria parasite species confirmation and  
  3. estimate overtime associations of phage-based diagnostics to liver-stage malaria and asymptomatic Plasmodium spp. infection.  

As part of Aqsens Health’s mission to generate a data-driven Rapid Malaria screening test, it is important to invest effort in understanding the mechanism of action of our modulator compounds. Particularly, Aqsens aims to identify the particular binding sites in the phage that have been engaged by malaria peptides in our highly efficient diagnostic test. This study will provide a quick and accurate non-invasive screening technique which can be used in remote areas with no access to a laboratory environment. For future prospects, Aqsens Health seeks to develop an array of screening tests for other health disorders including TB, Cholera, etc. 

Ongoing Activities  

After a successful pilot study, we have expanded the team on the ground and are currently in the process of training three Application Scientists, who will proceed shortly to commence recruitment of a new set of study participants. 

External Collaborator(s) 
Timo Teimonen, Aqsens Health Limited
Ville Pimenoff, Aqsens Health Limited
Paul Boateng, Aqsens Health Limited
Aqsens Health Limited