The $5 diagnostic kit will enable quick, quantitative diagnosis currently conducted only in hospitals and labs.
Next-generation diagnostic kits that can provide medical professionals with more immediate results are being developed by BGN Technologies, the tech-transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in collaboration with Singapore-based Biosensorix.
The new technology, in the form of a smart USB-like drive, is an electrochemical lateral flow immunosensor that conducts quantitative diagnosis of disease-related biomarkers and pathogens.
“There are fast-acting testing kits today that can be used both in the clinic and at home to diagnose a wide range of conditions and diseases, but none of them can discern the severity of the condition or disease,” said Prof. Robert Marks of BGU’s Biotechnology Engineering Department.
“In order to determine the severity of a disease, the patient needs to conduct a blood test at a hospital or specialized laboratory, with results taking between half to an entire day, and sometimes even longer.”
Biosensorix CEO Lukas Fajs said the new $5 testing kit presents a breakthrough in diagnosis. Instead of waiting for lab results, medical staff will be able to receive immediate results and decide on a course of action.
One kit developed by Biosensorix can detect dengue hemorrhagic fever, a disease endemic in Southeast Asia and South America. Most people with the disease are kept at the hospital until results come in, said Marks. The new kit allows the physician to release the patient within half an hour, saving time and money.
A second application, still under development, assesses stroke severity and provides early detection of a secondary stroke, which can occur after release from the hospital. The new kit also has the potential to help distinguish ischemic stroke from stroke mimics, to determine its causes, its severity, and outcome, and help decide on correct treatment.
“With stroke every minute counts. A quick quantitative test means rapid diagnosis that is necessary for accurate timely treatment. This can save brain functions and even lives,” said Ora Horovitz at BGN Technologies.