Eliminating worm infectionsin sub-saharan africa and enabling the who's road map 2021-2030

eWHORM’s First LAMP Assay Workshop at the University of Buea, Cameroon

Manjo, April 29th, 2024

On the last week of April 2024, Cameroon took center stage for eWHORM as the project partner University of Buea hosted the first LAMP Assay Workshop.

Participants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, Germany and Switzerland joined Prof. Wanji’s team at Manjo Medical Research Centre to initiate the training of the field-applicable LAMP assays for the diagnosis of onchocerciasis, loiasis and mansonellosis. Dedicated communication materials, including T-shirts and bags, were created for the scientific event.

Prof. Samuel Wanji from the University of Buea and leader of the Work Package 4 underlines that "during the past decade, the Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) technology has taken an important place in molecular diagnostics. LAMP stands out amongst numerous nucleic acid amplification assays in terms of sensitivity, specificity, cost, robustness, accessibility and sample-to-sample time, making it ideal for field-deployable diagnostics in resource-limited areas. The group of experts, composed by participants from Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL) in Gabon, Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale (INRB) in DRC, the University of Buea in Cameroon and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in Switzerland shared the objective to acquire skills to be implemented in the various project laboratories, facilitate the accurate participant identification for the clinical trials and monitor their infection status during the course of the trial".

Through this practical training course, Prof. Wanji’s team enhanced the collaboration with all partners attending onsite and online. As an amplification technique that does not require expensive equipment, the LAMP technology will help improve the diagnosis of the above-cited neglected tropical diseases before validation at the clinical trials and thereby set a major milestone for the project’s objectives.

eWHORM project coordinator Prof. Marc Hübner from University Hospital Bonn also played a very active role in the workshop: "During our LAMP assay workshop hosted by Prof. Wanji in Cameroon, researchers from our eWHORM study sites in Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania (represented by Swiss TPH) learned the LAMP assay technique to detect different filarial species (Onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa and Mansonella perstans), which will also be established for soil-transmitted helminths. This assay is field-applicable and provides a higher sensitivity than microscopy evaluations and PCR. As part of our eWHORM project, this LAMP assay will be established at the eWHORM study sites and allows us to confirm samples that are negative by microscopy after treatment by a second, highly sensitive method".

The ultimate goal is to transfer these filarial LAMP assays from Cameroun to DRC (INRB) and Gabon (CERMEL), thereby contributing to their implementation for enhanced filarial detection.