[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Skip to Main Content

Latest News

March 29, 2010
Volume 88, Number 13
p. 22
Article appeared online March 23, 2010

Detecting Parasites

ACS Meeting News: Quick, inexpensive test uses arsenic-based dyes to identify parasitic diseases

Elizabeth K. Wilson

  • Print this article
  • Email the editor
Aaron Rowe
DEADLY GLOW An arsenic-containing dye (left), glowing under UV light, signals the presence of deadly parasites.

Text Size A A

A new fluorescence test being developed by researchers at SRI International, in Menlo Park, Calif., can detect inexpensively and within minutes the presence of a family of parasites that cause several deadly diseases.

The Trypanosomatidae family of parasites causes Chagas disease in Central and South America, sleeping sickness in Africa, and leishmaniasis in millions of people worldwide. The parasite also causes a disease called nagana in cattle and horses.

Current tests require expensive or time-consuming blood analyses or antibody assays. SRI medicinal chemists Ellen D. Beaulieu and Mary Tanga announced at a press conference at the ACS national meeting in San Francisco that their group engineered a family of arsenic-based dyes and identified three that bind to sulfur-based groups in a peptide unique to trypanosomatid parasites. The peptide-dye complex then glows under ultraviolet light.

Within five years, the team hopes to have a "dipstick" test that's cheap and easily transported to poor and developing countries. Beaulieu noted that these diseases are second only to malaria in the number of deaths from parasitic diseases worldwide.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Services & Tools

ACS Resources

ACS is the leading employment source for recruiting scientific professionals. ACS Careers and C&EN Classifieds provide employers direct access to scientific talent both in print and online. Jobseekers | Employers

» Join ACS

Join more than 161,000 professionals in the chemical sciences world-wide, as a member of the American Chemical Society.
» Join Now!