Developing rapid diagnostics for influenza
Unit(s) of assessment: Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy
School: School of Science and Technology
Development of a rapid point-of-care diagnostic device for influenza virus detection.
The research began by working on the validation of a standardised real-time PCR test for H5N1 avian influenza which is now used in European reference laboratories. Follow-on funding led to the development of fully-automated diagnostic devices for companies who have taken their products to market and attracted substantial investment from world-leading pharmaceutical companies.
Point-of-care diagnostics for influenza
Dr McNally transferred crucial background intellectual property to industry and academia and created and validated reference laboratory-quality diagnostic and detection assays. Demonstrating the impact of his work, the following companies all adopted assay design practices based on Dr McNally's scientific input: Genewave, Gaiker, Ikerlan, and Whatman GE Healthcare. Additionally, the validation of testing procedures and devices during the project was designed by Dr McNally, allowing the final product to be tested to OIE reference laboratory standards.
The impact of rapid diagnosis of human cases of H5N1 infection was quantified in a 2008 Lancet study which concluded that rapid point-of-care diagnosis of cases in humans would allow more effective infection control measures and quicker delivery of the antiviral oseltamivir to patients.
This research also created multiple opportunities for public outreach to educate the public on influenza and the benefits of rapid diagnostic research. These included editorials in the Lancet, and expert opinion pieces in national and international media such as BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 4, and Naturenews.com.
See more about NTU's work in this area: The Pathogen Research Group.
This research was undertaken in collaboration with Genewave; Ikerlan; BIOEF; CIRAD; VIB and GE Healthcare
The project was funded by a £67,000 grant from the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
- OIE, FAO approved diagnostic algorithm from molecular testing of H5N1 (first posted 18/09/2007 – present day)
- Slomka, M.J., Pavlidis, T., Banks, J., Shell, W., McNally, A., Essen, S. C., & Brown, I. H., 2007. Validated H5 Eurasian RealTime PCR and its application in H5N1 outbreaks in 2005-06. (http://wok.mimas.ac.uk on 18 October 2013).
- Aldous, E. W, Seekings, J. M., McNally, A., Nili, H., Irvine, R. M., Alexander, D. J. and Brown, I. H. (2010). Infection dynamics of highly pathogenic avian influenza and virulent avian paramyxovirus type 1 viruses in chickens, turkeys and ducks. Avian Pathol. 39: 265-273. DOI: 10.1080/03079457.2010.492825. Impact Factor 1.729, citations 10 (http://wok.mimas.ac.uk on 18 October 2013).