Detecting Dengue with saliva

Dengue Fever Rapid Test Kits
Republic of Singapore (Singapore)

Dengue Fever is one of the most common mosquito-borne diseases in the world, affecting an estimated 390 million people per year in tropical and subtropical climates. Much like malaria, it threatens global health and, because tests are always conducted using blood samples in the laboratory, it’s notoriously time-consuming and expensive to diagnose.

But scientists at The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore have developed a disposable test kit to screen and diagnose dengue fever within 20 minutes, slashing the detection process to one simple step.

Often labelled ‘the mirror of the body’s health’, saliva provides vital indicators into the state of physical health but, unlike other bodily fluids, its unique structure causes it to stick haphazardly to existing test strips, like those used in pregnancy tests, giving inconclusive results. Professor Ying overcame this challenge by using an innovative stacking flow design which helps to regulate saliva flow through the test strip through graduated levels, generating uniform test lines for more accurate results. Expect this test to become available in pharmacies across the world within the next few years.

Written by

Natasha Drewnicki (01 August 2015)


Natasha has rendered her insatiable nosiness into a career in journalism and PR. When not juggling projects in Barcelona, she'll be surfing in North Spain or Cornwall.

Project leader

Professor Jackie Ying, Executive Director, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Tags: Medicine.

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