Official data published in the "Global Vector Control Response" report in 2017 by the World Health Organization (WHO) declare that around 80% of the world's population lives in areas at risk of infection from insect-borne diseases.
Increasing urbanization, intercontinental human mobility, and commercial exchanges favor the spread of vectors and viruses in newly affected geographic areas, increasing the risk of expansion and infection. Given the recent emergence in Italy of insects carrying arboviruses, such as the Zika (ZIKV), Dengue (DENV), and Chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses, and the consequent spread of infectious outbreaks (Arbovirus National Surveillance Plan, Ministry of Health, 2017), prompt and precise diagnosis appears to be essential to contain viral spread.
Biomedical Technologies, in Vivo and in Vitro Diagnostics
The ZIDECHIP project, foresee the creation of an in vitro diagnostic tool to identify Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya viruses. To develop the diagnostic, the leading partner, Alifax R&D, will combine its technology with the expertise in tropical diseases of the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), to thereafter validate it in collaboration with Laboratori Riuniti, in Trieste.
The main goal of the project is the development of a molecular test to simultaneously detect pathogenic viruses (ZIKV, DENV, and CHIKV) together with a software program that can quickly generate a clinical report useful for the prompt, effective, and personalized treatment of patients. The innovative diagnostic device will achieve several experimental and economic advantages. In fact, it will be faster, more robust, and easier to use than current methods, making it a new generation system, allowing decentralization of a highly specialized clinical center from laboratories to near patient sites. The diagnostic precision and rapidity will ensure the right therapy, allowing health care providers to concentrate efforts on timely and more effective treatments.