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Years: 2020 – 2021

Training Site: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH)

Country: Peru

Mentors: Bob Gilman, MD; Lance Liotta, MD, PhD

Title: “Refinement and Evaluation of the ULTRA (Urine Lateral-Flow Toxoplasmosis Rapid Antigen) Test as a diagnostic tool”

Program Objectives:

Aim 1: Refinement of the ULTRA Test. The ULTRA test is a lateral flow assay we have also developed in which the presence of native T. gondii antigen occludes the binding of colloidal gold bound recombinant antigen to fixed antibodies. We hypothesize the lateral flow itself will not be sensitive enough to detect the low abundance antigens of interest directly from clinical specimens. Thus, T. gondii antigen will be pre-concentrated using hydrogel nanoparticles. The nanoparticles will be eluted and the contents flowed on the ULTRA Test, giving the enhanced sensitivity necessary to detect these antigens.

Aim 2: Determine the sensitivity and specificity of the ULTRA Test in urine and optimize test performance in a cohort of HIV-infected patients with acute neurological syndromes.

Aim 2a: Validation of ULTRA Test on biobanked samples to assess its laboratory performance.

Aim 2b: Prospective validation of ULTRA Test in a hospital setting to assess its field sensitivity and specificity.

NIH Support: not included

Hannah Steinberg headshot