Welcome to Cholera Research Group (CRG) at Universiti Sains Malaysia
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 09 August 2004

       Cholera – a diarrheal disease is a major health problem in developing and under-developed countries. Around 5-7 million cholera cases have been reported worldwide. Cholera is caused by a bacterium, Vibrio cholerae. This organism produces the cholera toxin, which causes diarrhea and dehydration. The disease is fatal if not treated early. Sporadic outbreak of cholera is reported in Malaysia from time to time. Prompt diagnosis is essential for appropriate treatment and vaccination is essential to control cholera infection.     

Cholera research                        

        A research group was started in 1999 by Dr. M. Ravichandran and Dr. P. Lalitha under the able guidance and motivation of Prof Zainul F Zainuddin to help alleviate the problem of cholera.. After two years of intensive research, we isolated unique genes from V cholerae, namely hemA and hemM. Our vaccine strain VCUSM was developed by mutating the hemA gene. Besides this, our research team also developed a DNA based diagnostic kit for cholera based on the unique region of the hemM gene. The diagnostic kit was inspired by Prof Asma Ismail. These two discoveries have been filed for Malaysian and International patents. 

Cold chain free molecular diagnostic kits       

    Currently, most of the DNA based diagnostic tests require cold storage and skilled personnel which is disadvantageous for laboratories situated in remote areas. In the year 2003, our team developed the “Cholera DNA Rapid” diagnostic kit which does not require cold chain and contains thermostabilized DNA amplification reagents in dry gel form in a tube. The user has to add only the boiled clinical specimen. The uniqueness of the kit is that it can detect all types of V cholerae (O1, O139 and Non O1/O139). With committed and continuous research by our research team we developed a value added complete cholera diagnostic kit, EZAmp OCTAPLEX CHOLERA.

       This new generation kit not only detects all types of V. cholerae but also its serogroup, biotypes, virulent genes and antibiotic (tetracycline) resistant genotype, which helps to diagnosis cholera patients and facilitate treatment on the same day. With the expertise gained in developing the two cholera kits, a universal DNA based diagnostic kit called EZDNA Amp was developed by our research team in 2003. This kit can be easily transported without cold storage and can be used for amplifying the DNA from diverse sources. This product has been chosen by the Technology Incubation and Funding Partnership (TIFP) program of USAINS, USM, as one of the top 10 products of USM which has commercialization potential. After fruitful discussion an agreement has been signed with Malaysian Bio-diagnostics Research Sdn Bhd (MBDR) to commercialize this product. This platform technology has been utilized to develop kits for other infectious diseases like tuberculosis,VRE, EBV typhoid, paratyphoid and shigellosis. 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 September 2008 )
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