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article imageCanadian technology for rapid pathogen identification

By Tim Sandle     Jun 19, 2013 in Science
Toronto - An electronic chip that can rapidly detect and identify types of infectious bacteria could represent an important new development in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
This chip has been developed at the University of Toronto. The new device can analyse samples for groups of infectious bacteria in a very fast time and confirm the identity of the pathogen within a few minutes (using what are described as ‘biomolecule-specific microsensors’). At the same time the technology can search for many different bacteria and drug resistance markers (this means letting medics know the best types of drugs to treat the infection with).
The main advantage is the speed for many current methods take several days to produce a result, meaning that time is lost waiting for the medic to know what has caused the infection and in considering the best type of treatment, according to the magazine Pharma.
A test to see if the chip (a type of integrated circuit) could detect bacteria at concentrations found in patients suffering with a urinary tract infection, trials were held and the results were very encouraging.
Ihor Boszko, director of business development at Toronto-based in vitro diagnostics firm Xagenic, said this discovery could have numerous practical implications in the creation of near-patient clinical diagnostic tools.
Boszko explained that: "Multiplexing of in vitro diagnostic approach adds the capability of simultaneously testing for multiple viruses or bacteria that produce similar clinical symptoms. It also allows for simple and cost-effective manufacturing of highly multiplexed electrochemical detectors."
The technology has been reported in the journal Nature Communications. The paper is titled “Solution-based circuits enable rapid and multiplexed pathogen detection.”
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