Trypanosoma vivax is one of the causative agents of Animal African Trypanosomosis in cattle, which is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa and transmitted primarily by the bite of the tsetse fly vector. The parasite can also be mechanically transmitted, and this has allowed its spread to South America. Diagnostics are limited for this parasite and in farm settings diagnosis is mainly symptom-based. We set out to identify, using a proteomic approach, candidate diagnostic antigens to develop into an easy to use pen-side lateral flow test device. Two related members the invariant surface glycoprotein family, TvY486_0045500 and TvY486_0019690, were selected. Segments of these antigens, lacking N-terminal signal peptides and C-terminal transmembrane domains, were expressed in E. coli. Both were developed into ELISA tests and one of them, TvY486_0045500, was developed into a lateral flow test prototype. The tests were all evaluated blind with 113 randomised serum samples, taken from 37 calves before and after infection with T. vivax or T. congolense. The TvY486_0045500 and TvY486_0019690 ELISA tests gave identical sensitivity and specificity values for T. vivax infection of 94.5% (95% CI, 86.5% to 98.5%) and 88.0% (95% CI, 75.7% to 95.5%), respectively, and the TvY486_0045500 lateral flow test prototype a sensitivity and specificity of 92.0% (95% CI, 83.4% to 97.0%) and 89.8% (95% CI, 77.8% to 96.6%), respectively. These data suggest that recombinant TvY486_0045500 shows promise for the development of a pen-side lateral flow test for the diagnosis of T. vivax animal African trypanosomosis.
African Animal Trypanosomosis presents a significant problem for agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa and leads to large economic losses. One of the main parasites responsible is Trypanosoma vivax. Current diagnostic methods are either symptom-based or too costly and technologically demanding for use in endemic regions. Here, we identified T. vivax proteins selectively recognized by infected cattle sera and developed two related proteins into ELISA tests and one of these into a lateral flow test prototype. All three tests performed well when tested against randomised calf sera, suggesting good potential for the development of a pen-side T. vivax animal African trypanosomosis diagnostic device for use in endemic regions.