Fondation Mérieux develops new test for typhoid fever

January 9, 2012 - Lyon (France)


Thanks to the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fondation Mérieux has launched a project to develop a sensitive molecular diagnostic test for the detection of Salmonella as the cause of Typhoid Fever.

Typhoid fever continues to be a major public health problem, especially amongst children in developing countries. The World Health Organization estimates that 17 to 22 million people are infected per year with a mortality rate of 600,000 each year.

Typhoid and Paratyphoid fevers are caused by a bacteria named Salmonella (Salmonella typhi, Salmonella paratyphi A; Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella enteritidis) and the bacteria is transmitted by contaminated water and food. Current diagnostic techniques are not very sensitive and are not all adapted to developing countries. This means that there is little data concerning the exact global prevalence rate of this disease.

In this context, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has asked Fondation Mérieux to develop a sensitive diagnostic test for the detection of S.typhi, S.paratyphi A, S.typhimurium and S.enteritidis in blood.

This ambitious project will last for a year and will involve five partners:

  • Reference Centre for Salmonella, Pasteur Institute, Paris (France)
  • West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre, Glasgow (UK)
  • Fast Track Diagnostics (Luxembourg)
  • Kemri-CDC (Kenya)
  • Child Health Foundation (Bangladesh)

Fondation Mérieux’s Emerging Pathogens Laboratory, in addition to project coordination, will have the role of developing the enrichment and purification of the nucleic acid of Salmonella from blood samples.