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Development of new diagnostic tools for scrub typhus infections

Principal Investigator : Jeanne Salje, University of Oxford/ Department of Microbiology

Project Status : On-going


Project Summary

  • Most severe rickettsial infections and a leading cause of acute undifferentiated fever

  • Mite borne –  Orientia tsutsugamushi  (Ot),

  • Endemic across Asia, but spreading. Cases have been shown in Africa as well as Latin America

  • Generic symptoms, headache fever and rash, so its often misdiagnosed. Adding to there is low knowledge of the infection.

  • Orientia tsutsugamushi (Ot), is intrinsically resistant to frontline antibiotics, so if misdiagnosed, its unlikely to be cured by the treatment for other infections that show similar symptoms.

  • Very susceptible to doxycycline, so a rapid scrub typhus test can would easily direct treatment

  • No current diagnostic test, difficult to culture, is BSL3, takes 4 weeks to grow

  • Serological assays have their limits

  • PCR has low sensitivity

  • Also the problem with treating with a broad spectrum antibiotics is contributing to antibiotic resistance.

  • Looking to use highly sensitive human derived antibodies to detect Ot Antigens

  • See if the isolated antibodies can detect ot spiked blood

  • How is this different to PCR

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