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Department of Science & Technology (DST), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India approved project “Development of an effective and early diagnostic gadget/tool to control prevalence of rheumatic heart disease”

Duration -03 years
Date of Sanction- 09 October 15
Principal Investigator 1- Prof. Mohd. Owais, Interdiciplinary Biotechnology Unit, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
Amount- 44 Lakhs
Principal Investigator 2- Dr. Nishi Sharma, Dept. of Biotechnology, Mangalayatan University, Aligarh
Amount- 20 Lakhs


Rheumatic fever (RF) remains a major cause of heart disease and premature death in large parts of the world. Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) is a systemic inflammatory autoimmune disease that follows throat infection with Lancefield group A -hemolytic streptococci (Streptococcus pyogenes). Rheumatic Heart disease (RHD) is major cause of valvular heart diseases throughout the world which is the late sequel of rheumatic fever .

The pathogenesis of ARF is believed to involve the triad of a genetically susceptible individual, infection with a rheumatogenic strain of Group A Streptococci (GAS) cause a wide variety of life threatening diseases in developing countries like India. Characterization of GAS isolates is therefore necessary for prevention and control of pathogen associated diseases. Considering lack of adequate and comprehensive knowledge regarding genotypic analysis, the present proposal is an attempt to develop an easier way for identification of GAS strain in infected patient. The abnormal immune responses evoked post streptococcal infection can have strong correlation with genetic makeup of an individual. The possibility of a predisposing genetic influence in some individuals is one of the most perturbing factors that might contribute his susceptibility to RF.

The identification of this bacterium is traditionally based upon physiological and biochemical traits. Direct tests using fluorescent antibody, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and latex agglutination have been used widely for the detection of GAS. However, the sensitivity of these detection methods is limited. Moreover, definitive identification of Streptococci still requires conventional culture. Thus, the need exists for improving diagnostic methods for early detection of Group A streptococcal infection.

The project foresees development of a platform that can detect multiple GAS isolates and characterization of their virulence factors in a single test at a much lower cost than the methods which are being used currently.