Diagnostic Technologies

Tools for poliovirus detection and surveillance

June 2015 Convening & Training


Prototype poliovirus surveillance tool. Kenya, 2015. PATH/Robyn Wilmouth

From June 1–5, 2015, more than thirty global stakeholders from the global poliovirus (PV) surveillance community convened at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The event’s primary goals were three-fold:

  1. Review the current status of environmental surveillance efforts,
  2. Receive training in the use of new PV surveillance tools under development by PATH and the University of Washington, and
  3. Provide feedback for further development of appropriate surveillance tools to support the PV “endgame.”

The convening and training brought together international experts in PV diagnostics and surveillance, laboratory and field-based staff, academics, and donors. Attendees included representatives from PATH, the University of Washington, the University of Pretoria, Kenya Medical Research Institute, National Institute of Health of Pakistan, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other key collaborators and partners.

As we draw closer to the goal of worldwide eradication of polio, environmental surveillance is becoming an increasingly important component to understanding where wild PV still persists and to better inform upon the success of ongoing vaccination strategies. Simple-to-use and accurate diagnostics are also helpful to improve case detection in challenging settings, and provide additional data for eradication efforts.

To this goal, with generous support from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH and the University of Washington have developed two new prototype tools: the bag-mediated filtration system (BMFS) for environmental surveillance, and the PV diagnostic tool (PVDT) for case detection in challenging or remote settings. Read more about both these tools.

Field studies are beginning to test the effectiveness of these tools.

Agenda Summary:

  • Day 1 – Global perspectives on polio surveillance: presentations and discussion on global surveillance activities, challenges and opportunities
  • Day 2 – Development of polio surveillance tools: review of the development processes for the BMFS and PVDT and findings
  • Day 3 – BMFS training: elution, PEG precipitation, MS2: training and feedback from field staff and device users in preparation for planned field studies
  • Day 4 – BMFS training: field sampling and hands-on post-sampling processes: training and feedback from field staff and device users in preparation for planned field studies
  • Day 5 – PVDT demonstration and training: sampling, extraction, amplification and detection: hands-on training and feedback opportunity to inform ongoing prototype development

<–Back to the PATH polio surveillance and diagnostics project page.

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