First Multiplex Test for Tick-borne Diseases Reported in Nature Scientific Reports


February 1, 2018

Led by Rafal Tokarz, PhD, and Ian Lipkin, MD, at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, this research team developed a new blood test that has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis of eight tick-borne diseases. Details of the test, called the Tick-Borne Disease Serochip (TBD Serochip), were reported in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

This assay represents a major advance in that only one sample of blood will be needed to detect eight tick-borne infections. Current testing for Lyme disease requires two separate tests and results in false positives 28 percent of the time. Tests for other tick-borne diseases are either not available or have widely varying degrees of accuracy among laboratories. The development of the TBD Serochip by the Center for Infection and Immunity team represents a major public health advance.

The Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center biorepository facilitated the development of this assay through the provision of samples, along with other collaborators including the State University of New York at Stony Brook, NIH, and the Centers for Disease Control. The Biorepository at the Columbia Lyme Center has served as a national resource for the development of new diagnostic tests and for the discovery of biomarkers that predict treatment outcome. Biorepositories of samples from well-characterized patients are essential to enable investigators to use the latest precision medicine tools and omics technologies to make new discoveries for any disease.