In today’s world where we are still having trouble foreseeing events such as earthquakes and disease outbreaks, our team decided to focus on finding a way to predict one of these problems and, thereby, prevent it from happening. As the center of our study, we chose arboviruses, mosquito-borne viruses which often cause severe diseases in humans. These viruses are spreading at an alarming rate on a global scale due to mosquitoes, their vectors. Currently, the most common method of fighting against the dissemination of the vectors and the viruses are insecticides, which haven proven to be extremely damaging to the environment. In addition to that, mosquitoes tend to develop resistance against these insecticides, which diminishes their efficiency even more.
Our project consists out of a kit named MOS(KIT)O, containing:
• A mosquito trap
• A diagnostic patch
The diagnostic patch is biosilica-based and allows a quick detection of viruses in mosquitoes, by first depositing a mosquito lysate, produced by the trap, onto the patch. This system is quick and easy to use by local administrations and allows them to create a detailed real-time mapping of the territories populated with infected mosquitoes.
So our project consists in the development of a better mapping tool of vector-borne diseases to specifically target insecticide spreading in infected areas only, to facilitate rapid diagnosis, and significantly improve the prevention of these diseases before outbreak appearance. To do that, we engineered a dual system capable of ensuring both the capture of mosquitoes and also the detection of the presence or absence of virus in these vectors.
Our solution is based on the use of synthetic biology to design the MOS(KIT)O patch. We produce from E.coli a novel fusion protein with 3 functions:
With the assistance of synthetic biology, we successfully modified E. coli, within a contained fully functioning biosafety laboratory. With it, we produce a novel fusion protein needed to create biosilica, and bind antibodies onto a cellulose support. We selected biosilica to increase rigidity of our patch and because it is completely biodegradable. The innovative design of the patch creates a multilayered matrix coated with antibodies capable of detecting a wide panel of vector-borne pathogens (like Zika, Chikunguya, Dengue, Yellow Fever…) and insecticide-resistant proteins from captured mosquitoes.
As a result of these three functions, the protein is able to specifically catch viral proteins. And with a simple marking solution, it reveals the presence of the virus. Our novel protein is integrated into a cellulose patch giving a user friendly detection device. It is rigid, easy to manipulate, and made from a new composite biomaterial. In addition, by choosing the antibody that we fix on the protein BpA, we choose the virus that we want to detect (Zika, Chikunguya, Dengue, Yellow Fever…).
To learn more about the design of our patch with the production of this fusion protein, you can go to the SCIENCE section.
The patch is at the very heart of the kit we want to provide. The kit is made of three parts:
• A trapping system
• A detection system (the patch)
• A mapping system
The trapping system was designed in collaboration with experts to catch mosquitoes in the most effective way.
When we decide to introduce a detection system against arboviruses in the environment, it is essential to take into account the safety of local people and surrounding ecosystems. That's why our new fusion protein and its cellulose support are fully biodegradable. In addition, we have thought about security of the system combining our patch with our trap in a completely sealed container that can be opened only with a key, for example. It will be necessary to train people to read the results of this test and open this container.
Mosquitoes are attracted and trapped in a chamber. The chamber referred to as the Mosquito filter can be taken to the local administration lab and used for the analysis step
Once the diagnosis has been performed, a trained person will come to read the results of the test kit and replace refill the system.
To learn more about the design of the trap and the diagnostic KIT, you can go to the DEVICE section.
The Mos(kit)o device is easy to use and it does not require scientific expertise so it is possible to train people locally. From the setting up of the trap to the analysis of the patch, the steps are simple and designed to reduce user error. For example, the quick read function has a color change component to ensure quick and accurate interpretation of results; changing from no color to color for positive results.
We also reflected on the different stages of using our kit by establishing several scenarios on our project.
Let us present to you our Mos(kit)O project in SCENARIO section!