A new test may help in the early diagnosis of fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries.
The University of Nevada, Reno and Immuno-Mycologics (IMMY) in Oklahoma have collaborated for the new field test to detect cryptococcal antigen that uses a drop of blood from a finger-stick or a urine sample to immediately identify the presence of the disease so treatment can begin instantly, rather than having to wait for results to be processed at a lab.
Tom Kozel, professor of microbiology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, developed the antibody used for the Cryptococcus test in his lab at the University of Nevada, Reno.
IMMY is using the antibody now for testing in Africa, but only through the traditional, time-consuming and expensive methods of venipuncture (blood draw) or spinal tap for cerebrospinal fluid.
The team is working to get additional funding for studies needed to further develop and validate the new point-of-care product to make it readily available to patients.