August 27, 2021 – Khon Kaen University under the collaboration with the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) held a ceremony for giving 100,000 sets of OV-Rapid diagnostic test (OV-RDT) for liver flukes to the 7th Health Region of the Ministry of Public Health at Sarasin Room, 2nd Floor, Sirikunakorn Building of Khon Kaen University. Prof. Monchai Duanchinda, Ph.D. Vice President for Research and Graduate Study; Prof. Narong Khanteekaew, M.D., Acting Director of the Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute; and Prof. Paiboon Sithithaworn, Ph.D., the research team leader represented KKU to transfer the test kits. The representatives receiving the OV-RDT from the 7th Disease Control Office Khon Kaen included Dr. Somrerk Juengsaman, M.D., Inspector-General of the Ministry of Public Health, the 7th Disease Control Office; and Dr. Saman Futrakoon, M.D., Director of the 7th Disease Control Office. The ceremony strictly observed Khon Kaen’s guard against the spread of Covid-19.
Prof. Monchai Duanchinda, Ph.D. Vice President for Research and Graduate Study said, “Liver flukes are the primary cause of liver fluke disease and are connected to cholangiocarcinoma in Thailand and Southeast Asia. In Thailand Cholangiocarcinoma causes the death rate of 20,000 people in the country per year. Khon Kaen University by the Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute has been dedicated to conduct studies in order to solve the problems of liver fluke disease and cholangiocarcinoma. One way to reduce the incidence of the diseases is to eradicate liver flukes from the area. At present the screening for infected people is done by examining feces according to the standard method, which is not very efficient. To solve the problem, Khon Kaen University, by support from the National Research Council and a team of researcher from the Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute developed the new method for diagnosis of liver fluke disease through the monoclonal antibody, which is specific to liver flukes and can detect them from or antigen of liver fluke in urine. This test kit has been developed from the ELISA and improved for ease of use in less time, too.
Khon Kaen University sees the benefits that the Ministry of Public Health can use the OV-Rapid diagnostic test (OV-RDT) in a wide circle so that liver flukes and cholangiocarcinoma can be done away with. This will be in accordance with the policy to eradicate liver fluke and cholangiocarcinoma from the country. The screening can now be done efficiently and in remote areas without having to bring the samples to the laboratory in the province.
Dr. Wiparat Dee-ong, Director of the National Research Council said, “NRCT has supported in terms of research subsidies under the Thailand Challenging Research Project – Fluke Free Thailand, to the Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute of Khon Kaen University since the fiscal year 2016 until now. It is expected that liver flukes and cholangiocarcinoma will be reduced or gone from Thailand. Apart from this, budget has been allocated for activities that support research of 2017 under the project called: Urine rapid test kit for opisthorchiasis detection in community. The outcome will be transferred to the Ministry of Public Health to screen those having the disease in the community and answer the strategic plan to eradicate the diseases (2016-2025 plans). 100,000 test kits have been produced. They have the specific property, which is the rapidity in checking. Public Health officers will be able to screen more people than they used to. The procedure is not complicated and does not require any special tool. As the kit can detect the disease more efficiently, the patients will be able to receive treatment sooner than before.”
“NRCT is honored to take part in the development of this innovation, which is very useful for Thai people. NRCT is also pleased to support KKU and the Ministry of Public Health in developing other innovations and research that will bring benefits to the country and Thai people,” said NRCT Director.
Dr. Somrerk Juengsaman, M.D., Inspector-General of the Ministry of Public Health, the 7th Disease Control Office added, “The Ministry of Public Health is grateful to the National Research Council and Khon Kaen University for development of this innovation.”
“The OV-RDT is the tool that will help support the Strategic Plan to “eradicate liver fluke and cholangiocarcinoma (the 2016-2025 plans). It will lead to concrete outcomes and can detect infected patients quickly. The evaluation after treatment and the finding of recurrence of the disease can be easier. The Ministry will be able to collect samples from more targeted population and so the coverage will be higher than before. Now there are over 6-10 million people who should be screened. The 100,000 sets received will be used on the risk group in Khon Kaen, Roi-et, Maha Sarkham, and Kalasin. Urine examination enables detection of infected people quickly and they will receive treatment quicker than before. Then cholangiocarcinoma can be reduced and the control of the disease will become successful,” said Dr. Somrerk.
The Cholangiocarcinoma Research Institute has researched on and developed the innovation of OV-RDT, which is specific to monoclonal antibody and liver fluke. Detection can be done from the secretion or the antigen of liver flukes in urine. As the kit is the extension version of ELISA, it has been improved in terms of usage in the field. The time required in only 10 minutes.