UniServices Commercialisation
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Rheumatic Fever Diagnostic Tool

Categories for this Technology

Infectious Disease



Intellectual Property


National Phase Application





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A new Streptococcal serological test to enable efficient and reliable diagnosis of rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.


Problems Addressed

Globally there are an estimated one million new cases of Rheumatic Fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis diagnosed per year. Rheumatic fever can lead to Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) which is the world’s leading cause of acquired heart disease. There are >30 million people living with RHD and the disease causes 320,000 deaths globally each year. In New Zealand, Māori and Pacific children carry a significant disease burden and have some of the highest disease rates for both RF and PSGN in the world.

Problems with current diagnostic tool

Serological tests are essential for the diagnosis of rheumatic fever and post- streptococcal glomerulonephritis. The current gold standards measure the levels of anti-streptolysin O (ASO) and anti- DNAseB (ADB) antibodies in blood.

Other disadvantages of the current tool include:

• Incompatible assays so the two tests need to be run in parallel

• Most commonly used assay platform for ADB is manual

• DnaseB is not carried by all strains of Streptococcus A leading to false negatives.

• Antibodies have long half-lives leading to false-positives

• Overall poor predictive value

• Suspected cases prescribed antibiotics as a precaution



The invention can be described in two steps:

1. Combine the two existing assays into a single test system based on platforms that are widely utilised in clinical diagnostic laboratories.

2. Add a third serological marker (SpnA), which has been discovered and characterized by our researchers.

Data has shown that SpnA improves the predictive value of streptococcal serology. A bead-based immunoassay method has been developed that enables SpnA to be measured simultaneously, in a multiplex format, with ASO and ADB.


The main application of the technology will be in the clinical diagnosis of rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. An additional application is in the clinical development for new Streptococcus A vaccines. Streptococcal serology will be required in all trial participants in all phases of development.


• Enables all three antibodies to be measured simultaneously in a multiplex format

• Triplex assay technology improves the accuracy and efficiency of streptococcal serology

• The novel SpnA marker has sensitivity compared with ASO and ADB

• Improved predictive value could decrease prescription of antibiotics


Dr Nikki Moreland


Assoc. Professor Thomas Proft


Questions about this Technology?

Contact Dr Sandhya Badrinarayanan