Development of a Comprehensive Tick-Borne Pathogen and Febrile Illness Detection Panel

Principal Investigator: Laura Goodman

Baker Institute for Animal Health
Sponsor: DOD-U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA)
Grant Number: : W81XWH2210891
Title: Development of a Comprehensive Tick-Borne Pathogen and Febrile Illness Detection Panel
Project Amount: $886,467
Project Period: September 2022 to August 2025

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

Progress in advanced molecular detection (AMD) technology since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up immense possibilities for the next stage of diagnostic capabilities for tick-borne diseases (TBDs). Multiple studies have indicated that tick vectors can transmit more than one agent. Those infected with multiple agents may have more severe and prolonged clinical illness. From intensive studies in North America and Europe, novel agents are constantly being identified. Other regions where US military personnel are deployed are vastly understudied. We propose a technology development project using a novel AMD strategy to rapidly monitor and discover pathogens with applications for tick surveillance and clinical testing in the field.

The long term goal of the proposed research is to develop a rapid point-of-care (POC) test covering all major TBD and febrile illness pathogens affecting humans. The goal of the study proposed here is to develop and bench-validate a hybrid capture sequencing approach on the small benchtop Illumina iSeq platform. We hypothesize that a hybrid capture approach targeting both TBD pathogens with RNA genomes (arboviruses) and DNA genomes (bacteria and parasites) will have performance comparable to PCR and sufficient flexibility to detect currently known and novel pathogens.