Rapid test for precision mapping, and monitoring and evaluation of schistosomiasis control programmes

What is this project?

This project focuses on the development of a sensitive rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for schistosomiasis that can support the precision mapping and monitoring and evaluation of schistosomiasis national control programmes in countries where the disease is regularly found. The current focus is on an RDT that detects the circulating anodic antigen (CAA).


Why are we working on it?

CAA is secreted by all species of schistosomes that are of public health importance, making it a particularly suitable target for schistosomiasis diagnostics. A laboratory-based test for CAA is available; however, in order to achieve optimal sensitivity, the test requires sample processing steps and a reader for detection.

This project aims to bring CAA testing out of the laboratory and into community settings by developing it into an RDT.

In the frame of schistosomiasis national control programmes, RDTs for schistosomiasis are needed for monitoring, so that mass drug administration programmes can be appropriately targeted and their impact measured.


What does it involve?

This RDT only requires a drop of blood from a finger prick. The result can be read after 20 minutes using a score card. The RDT will not require sample preparation, nor a reader for detection. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that community health workers can use it with minimal training.

What do we expect to achieve?

The test will be used to support mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns and for precision mapping in low- and middle-income countries. The schistosomiasis CAA RDT would replace the microscopy-based tests, with the following benefits:

  • Reduce the number of tests being performed on one individual (avoid multiple samples over multiple days)
  • Refine the schistosomiasis map – “shrink the map” / precision mapping
  • Reduce the time spent by the field teams in testing (or increase the efficiencies of testing whereby more samples can be tested in a given day)
  • Enable testing by non-specialized lab personnel, thus reducing costs and facilitating testing in more remote settings
  • Redirect drugs to the areas of need, but at the same time, drive policy change and expand drug donation to adults


Partners and funding

FIND is leading a consortium that includes Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Nagasaki University (NUITM), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and two test developers: Global Access Diagnostics (GADx) (formerly Mologic) and DCN Dx.

Ongoing workstreams are being supported with catalytic funding from the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Merck (through their Global Health Institute). This complements support from UK aid from the British people and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).