Rapid, noninvasive detection of Zika virus in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by near-infrared spectroscopy

Sci Adv. 2018 May 23;4(5):eaat0496. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0496. eCollection 2018 May.


The accelerating global spread of arboviruses, such as Zika virus (ZIKV), highlights the need for more proactive mosquito surveillance. However, a major challenge during arbovirus outbreaks has been the lack of rapid and affordable tests for pathogen detection in mosquitoes. We show for the first time that near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a rapid, reagent-free, and cost-effective tool that can be used to noninvasively detect ZIKV in heads and thoraces of intact Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with prediction accuracies of 94.2 to 99.3% relative to quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). NIRS involves simply shining a beam of light on a mosquito to collect a diagnostic spectrum. We estimated in this study that NIRS is 18 times faster and 110 times cheaper than RT-qPCR. We anticipate that NIRS will be expanded upon for identifying potential arbovirus hotspots to guide the spatial prioritization of vector control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / virology*
  • Animals
  • Mosquito Vectors / virology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared* / methods
  • Zika Virus Infection / transmission
  • Zika Virus Infection / virology
  • Zika Virus*