PROJECT DESCRIPTIONFrom our inspiration to future prospects.
At first, we thought of using problems in Japan as the theme for this year’s iGEM. However, most of the problems that have been paid attention to are already well researched and finding an angle to do further research is difficult. Therefore, we decided to pick up the theme that can become a problem in Japan in the future.
Amongst the ideas, we noticed the incident in August, 2014 which dengue fever spread from Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. This incident was unique in that people got infected from within Japan, not from overseas. Previously, dengue fever would be reported from the tropics, but with the effect of global warming, Japan would face higher risk of an outbreak, thus we chose dengue fever as our theme.
Having the theme decided, we started gathering information by not just reading, but also by interviewing a former patient who was infected in the Philippines and discussing with a flavivirus researcher Professor Nukuzuma. We found out the following.
0) Dengue virus is the cause of dengue fever. It is a single positive-stranded RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae; genus Flavivirus.
1) Around the world, 4 million people are infected annually, causing the economic loss of more than $40 million. 2) Previously, dengue virus can be categorized into four categories but another new serotype has just been found. Being infected by one serotype leads to slight fever, but being infected by more than one serotypes can lead to a severe illness.3) There are four types of vaccine to prevent the four serotypes. However, the vaccine can cause severe illness for some people who have not been infected before.4) The annual infection ratio of each serotype changes in roughly 10 years cycle in some areas.
We who gathered these information thought of connecting the modeling (dry lab) to predict infection experience and its serotype, and the experiment (wet lab) to collect many data with specific serotype information. We believe this may help prevent severe dengue fever and improve the efficacy of treatment.
Dengue virus is unique in terms of its four different serotypes. Multiple infection can easily cause severe dengue, appearing hemorrhage and organ damage. It is important to grasp which serotype the patient is infected, however, there is not enough data about each serotype in a year.
To tackle the situation, we took the following two approaches.In the future, this system can contribute to other flavivirus detection system.
We also developed the simple and fast testing kit that can detect serotype with fluorescence, so that we can check the patient easily and get enough data to estimate the patients’ serotypes more accurate.
We succeeded in the development of the serotype prediction system using stochastic process analysis. This system can predict the patient's serotype by simulating the past data.