One of the objectives of ZikaPLAN is to develop novel diagnostics that would allow physicians to quickly diagnose a patient that is infected and evaluate them in a network of labs affiliated through the initiative. Better diagnostics are needed for Zika because current tests are very expensive and can be used only at the very early stages of infection, or when we detect antibodies to Zika, they tend to cross react if a patient has been previously exposed to dengue or other arboviruses.

“We need better diagnostics to accurately detect the people who are truly infected and to be able to understand the risk of complications as well as to manage the patient and monitor them if they are pregnant to know if the baby is safe.”

Prof. Rosanna Peeling, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Overall Objectives

A platform is being built to develop, validate and evaluate tools (including Point of Care tests) for ZIKV diagnosis, surveillance and research.

Specific Objectives

  • Develop novel ZIKV diagnostic tests in accordance with WHO Target Product Profiles,
  • Develop a Point of Care Test (POCT) for NS1/IgM for Zika,
  • Set up a biobank with harmonized bio-banking procedures for use in facilitating test development, evaluation and research studies,
  • Establish and disseminate Manual and Standard Operating Procedures on sample collection, and characterization,
  • Accelerate the validation of the performance and operational characteristics of diagnostic tests by setting up a biobank of specimens and a network of laboratory and clinical sites, pre-approved for clinical trial protocols,
  • Conduct landscape analyses of Zika diagnostic assays in development or commercially available,
  • Determine the utility of novel ZIKV diagnostic tools for patient management, disease control and epidemiologic research.

Contributing Laboratories

Assays that fulfil the target performance set by WHO will be selected to proceed to clinical performance studies which will be conducted at a network of laboratories that include the Pan American Laboratory Network for Dengue and other arboviruses, RELDA (which comprises 18 laboratories in Latin America and 5 in the Caribbean), the WHO collaborating centre for arboviral diseases in Senegal (IPD), ITG Antwerp, and the International Vaccine Institute Korea (IVI)—all with access to a geographic diversity of samples to test for cross reactivity against an array of flaviviruses.

RELDA: Arbovirus Laboratory Network in Latin America

RELDA: Arbovirus Laboratory Network in Latin America

Participating Organisations

Group leader: Prof. Rosanna Peeling, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

  • Fundación Universidad del Norte
  • Fondation Mérieux
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp
  • Instituto Medicina Tropical Pedro Kouri
  • Institut Pasteur de Dakar
  • International Vaccine Institute