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Developing a diagnostic testing tool for on-site use to detect virus threats to food crops

This is one of a series of articles about research projects which are funded by CONNECTED in Phase 2 of its pump-prime funding programme. To read more articles about these Phase 2 projects use this link. A full set of articles about projects funded in Phase 1 can be found here.

Rapid and inexpensive diagnostic tools for virus disease surveillance in sub-Saharan AfricaRapid and inexpensive diagnostic tools for virus disease surveillance in sub-Saharan Africa

A project aimed at developing diagnostic tests for use in the field to detect established and emerging virus threats to food crops

The goal of this project is to develop a quick and simple diagnostic testing tool that can be used on-site, by non-technical people. The test will detect established and emerging virus threats to major food and horticultural crops, and could form an early warning system to help limit the impact of emerging and invasive virus threats, such as

  • Banana bunchy top virus, in central and west Africa, and
  • Maize chlorotic mottle virus, which contributes to maize lethal necrosis in East Africa.

The tool will be convenient and inexpensive, using a disposable cassette and reusable handheld device. It will offer immediate results, great sensitivity and dynamic range, with the expectation it will be at least competitive with other field-based tests.

The project will also develop a scaling strategy to integrate low cost diagnostic tools into surveillance programs across West Africa, and create a capacity development plan.


  • Nigeria
  • UK

International research collaboration

  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria
  • University of the West of England, UK


  • Joel Allainguillaume (PI)
  • Jacqueline M Barnett
  • Jeff Davy
  • Richard Luxton
  • Janice Kiely
  • Lava Kumar
  • Adedamola Oresanya
  • Patricia Ogunsanya

Network members can find further details about those involved in the project by logging in to this site as a member, and using the Member Directory.

To become a network member free of charge, use this link.