Associate Professor Paul Young from SMMS has just returned from a seminar tour of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia promoting a new diagnostic assay for dengue patients that for the first time allows specific diagnosis on the day of patient presentation. This assay has had a long history, being first developed in Dr Young’s laboratory in the early 1990’s and recently commercialized through a UniQuest agreement with a local biotech company, Panbio Ltd. The assay had its global release at the end of 2006 and is gaining acceptance throughout SE Asia and South America as the diagnostic of choice to aid in clinical management of dengue patients. The assay is based on detection of a secreted viral protein, NS1 found in patient sera and ongoing collaborative studies with colleagues in Vietnam and Thailand suggest that it may be used as an early warning sign for those patients who are likely to progress to more severe and potentially fatal disease.

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