4th Joint Call: DAADTHEMAC

Neural angiostrongyliasis, the cause of eosinophilic meningitis, is a consequence of the migration of larvae of the nematode parasite (rat lungworm) Angiostrongylus cantonensis in humans and animals. Resulting disease, termed also Angiostrongylus Eosinophilic Meningitis (AEM) is considered a prominent Emerging Infectious Disease.
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Angiostrongylus cantonensis is a unique pathogen that is predominantly dependent on invasive rodent and mollusc hosts. Continuing spread of these organisms has led to wide distribution of AEM throughout the tropics. The majority of clinical cases are reported from SE Asia (the highest incidence in Thailand), however, the disease is broadly distributed in Pacific regions (French Polynesia, Hawaii, Australia) with recent invasions into continental USA. Recently, the pathogen was discovered in rats in the Canary Islands and two year ago, clinical human AEM cases were reported in France. Most recently, in 2019, the parasite was detected in Mallorca, Spain, demonstrating immediate risk of spread in southern parts of EU territories.


The Project

This project aims to develop a novel diagnostic tool for human eosinophilic meningitis caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis, namely a LAMP assay for AC detection in clinical cases, in various organism that serve as infection sources and in environmental samples. Our project consortium combines teams with expertise in various fields of human and veterinary medicine, ecology and infection biology. Project benefits from experience of EU and Thailand teams with development of molecular-based diagnostic tools including the LAMP technology, equipment and experimental work with AC, combined with partnerships/collaboration with research teams from countries with high incidences of AEM clinical cases in SE Asia (Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia). With synergic involvement of adjunct research partners from Australia, Spain, Italy and UK, the project team aims at (i) technological progress in AEM clinical diagnostics, (ii) detection of AC in food chains and (iii) understanding of local as well as global epidemiology of this emerging disease.


The Science

As the epidemiology of AEM involves humans, various mammals and birds, invertebrates, as well as environmental components, the One Health approach represents an ultimate avenue in diagnostics and prevention of this emerging disease.  As a result, composition of the consortium, the project involves experimental activities associated with development, optimization and experimental testing of developed assays, alongside clinical evaluation in medical facilities in SEA and detection of AC in the food chain and environment. Proposed LAMP diagnostics offer a range of advantages over other diagnostic approaches as it is applicable in field and clinical conditions as does not require time consuming and technologically demanding steps. The results of this project can be immediately disseminated and translated into sensitization of local populations and public awareness, respecting given cultural context and stage of development of partnering ASEAN countries.  


The Team

  • Prof. David Modry, Dr. Vojto Baláž and Barbora Fecková, DVM / Biology Center of Czech Academy of Sciences v.v.i., Branišovská 1160/31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic


  • Muhammad Hambal, DVM, Ph.D. / Syiah Kuala University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Banda Aceh


  • Prof. Jan Slapeta / University of Sydney, School of Veterinary Science, Sydney, Australia


  • Prof. Domenico Otranto / University of Bari, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Bari, Italy


  • Prof. Pilar Foronda Rodríguez / Universidad de La Laguna, Instituto Universitario de Enfermedades Tropicales y Salud Pública de Canarias, Spain;


  • Dr. Nicholas Morant, OptiGene Limited, Horsham, UK



Prof. MVDr. David Modry, Ph.D. / Biology Center of Czech Academy of Sciences v.v.i., Branišovská 1160/31, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic, email: modrydav@gmail.com