Forgot Password

Sign In


  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

  • Qld scientists discover quick dengue test

    Author: AAP

University of Queensland scientists are hoping to develop a hand-held device that can detect dengue fever in wild mosquitoes.

A pair of Queensland scientists are one step closer to creating a world-first hand-held device able to detect dengue fever in wild mosquitoes.

Subscribe for FREE to the HealthTimes magazine

University of Queensland professors Matt Cooper and Paul Young say their portable device would give people a better chance to safeguard against breakouts of the potentially-fatal tropical virus.

Currently, mosquitoes are caught and tested for dengue, but samples must be sent to a lab for confirmation.

Their device would instead provide an immediate result at a fraction of the cost.


"In the past we've basically used people as the canary in the coal mine," Dr Cooper told AAP.

"And by the stage we get reports of it in humans, outbreaks are often already out of control."

Dr Cooper says the test would have most benefit in disadvantaged countries in South America and Asia where dengue is prevalent.

"It costs about $20 for a PCR (laboratory) test but this would only be a few bucks per test," he said.

"You still have to trap the mosquitoes ... but you could give someone a device and a mobile phone with GPS and they'd be able go out and report where the infected mosquitoes are."

Dr Cooper and Dr Young have been backed by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the global Grand Challenges Explorations program and will now begin work on a prototype.

The device would work by identifying a unique protein only secreted by dengue fever-carrying mosquitoes.

Dr Cooper is hoping to begin field trials in 18 months.

Global cases of dengue have grown dramatically in recent decades, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying about half of the world's population is now at risk.

There is no vaccine to prevent the virus and no medical treatment other than pain reliever acetaminophen.


Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend

  • Remaining Characters: 500