Simple and effective diagnostic device for African animal Trypanosomiasis

Researchers at the University of Dundee have successfully developed a simple and effective diagnostic device for African animal Trypanosomiasis.

→ Highly specific and sensitive test
→ Low cost – suitable for developing world use
→ No power required
→ Miniaturised and simple to use
→ Fast results
→ Potential for enormous socio- economic benefit


Mainly occurring in Africa (and also South America), the cattle disease nagana or Trypanosomiasis, is an infection that can have a devastating impact on rural areas. The disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma vivax associated with the Tsetse fly, which inhabits an area of over 10 million square kilometres. It is the most economically important livestock disease of Africa yet can be difficult to diagnose - early symptoms are similar to other endemic diseases.
There is an urgent need for new, inexpensive, simple, diagnostics that can be used by vets and farmers to test animals prior to deploying expensive medicines.

The Opportunity

An intensive programme of research at the University of Dundee has resulted in a diagnostic kit for Trypanosoma vivax, which has all the characteristics required for deployment in resource-limited settings.
Based on the identification of purified parasite-specific antigens selectively recognised by cattle infection sera, the test exhibits excellent specificity and sensitivity. The kit is capable of discriminating infection with Trypanosoma vivax and other Trypanosome species, and/or identifying mixed Trypanosoma vivax and other Trypanosome species infection.
The prototype lateral flow device is less than 3 inches long and can identify within 30 minutes, using only a single drop of blood, whether or not an animal is infected. The simple device does not require any further resource for use such as electricity or additional equipment.
Tested on over one hundred serum samples from uninfected and infected T. vivax cattle, this promising device could allow millions of smallholder farmers an efficient and cost- effective way to test their cattle and treat them appropriately.

Commercial Opportunity

The University is seeking a commercial partner for this technology and contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this opportunity. The technology is available on an Easy Access basis - available to companies to licence for free.

Download PDF: Simple and effective diagnostic device for African animal Trypanosomiasis

IP Status: This technology is protected by patent application WO 2017/187179A1.

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