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Arthropod Vector Rapid Detection Devices (AV-RDD)

Arthropod Vector Rapid Detection Devices (AV-RDD)
By: Dr. Kendra Lawrence, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, and
MAJ Vanessa Melanson, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
 
As military entomologists and preventive medicine personnel, we have the often difficult but critical mission of assessing the threat of vector-borne diseases in a given area of operations. We are outfitted with the equipment needed to conduct arthropod surveillance; however, we have not had the organic capability to determine if these arthropods were carrying pathogens capable of transmitting disease to our troops. That is, until recently.
 
Thanks to efforts of the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), in collaboration with a partner under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, military entomologists and preventive medicine personnel now have access to multiple arthropod vector rapid detection devices (AVRDD), or dipstick assays, which detect the presence of pathogens in arthropods.  Department of Army Entomologists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), along with collaborators from US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) and the US Army Medical Research Unit – Kenya (USAMRU-K), worked closely with VecTOR Test Systems, Inc. to develop assays to detect pathogens in arthropods including Leishmania, malaria, dengue and Rift Valley fever virus.  The assays are packaged into kits with all the necessary reagents and three of the assays, Leishmania; dengue; and malaria, will become part of entomological medical equipment sets (MESs).  However, ALL four of the kits are available for procurement or purchase by individual units and preventive medicine personnel on an as needed basis.
 
These kits are designed for use by military entomologists, preventive medicine technicians, military environmental science officers, and US Army Public Health Command (USAPHC) personnel in any type of operational or humanitarian environment.  They will enhance and improve our ability to assess the risk of arthropod-borne diseases in a given area of operations. They require little to no extra equipment and come with easy-to-use instructions.  Results are available within 15-30 minutes.  These real-time results will enable us to make recommendations to medical planners and decision-makers regarding the use of disease mitigation measures as well as to make better decisions regarding implementation of vector control measures.  
 
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