Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Detecting Transmission Hotspots with Single 3-Second Reading

Organization: University of Queensland

Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Problem: Brazil is currently burdened by simultaneous outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, and there is limited information about where these arbovirus transmissions occur within cities since most cases never produce symptoms or present to hospital. Current vector control interventions are often applied in a blanket approach across urban areas, and therefore likely miss the transmission foci.

Solution: Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a non-destructive technique that can be used to measure multiple characteristics of a mosquito sample with a single, 3-second reading. This reading could then be used to identify unique signatures of arbovirus in mosquitoes to help with identification of hotspots and rapid management. NIRS can be performed on approximately 1000 mosquitoes per day,16× faster and 35× cheaper than conventional PCR and microscopy. Results can be analyzed and reported immediately. The NIRS machines are rugged and portable enough for field use, and they can be run on rechargeable batteries. The use of NIRS to measure more than one parameter simultaneously, using portable equipment and simple protocols, will considerably improve the speed, accuracy and capacity of arbovirus evaluations and risk mapping exercises.


Headshot of Maggy Sikulu-Lord

Maggy Sikulu-Lord (Principal Investigator) – PhD, Griffith University (Australia)

"Being able to characterize mosquito populations rapidly, without reagents and at a low cost."

Headshot of Rafael Maciel de Freitas

Rafael Maciel de Freitas (Co-Principal Investigator 1) – PhD, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)

"To provide a scientific advance on vector-borne diseases that could be helpful to identify which mosquitoes are infected with the arboviruses dengue, Zika and chikungunya to promote better control policies."

Headshot of Jill Fernandes

Jill Fernandes (Co-Principal Investigator 2) – PhD, University of Miami (Florida)

"During my PhD, I became interested in policy research regarding mosquito-borne disease control. Given the potential application of NIRS by vector control programs in Brazil and throughout the world, I was interested to know how the technology would be adopted by vector control programs and how it could best assist mosquito-borne disease control."

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