24. August 2011 16:26
A new diagnostic device based on the familiar Petri dish could identify dangerous bacteria up to five times faster than conventional methods.
The test from US company NanoLogix could reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics, and would provide more accurate water-quality test results than the current swabbing method, which involves waiting up to 48 hours for results.
A single cell can be detected by the device’s ‘bionanopore’ membranes and ‘bionanofilters’, producing results in as little as 4 hours.
Bret Barnhizer, CEO of NanoLogix, commented: “People knew for decades that microcolonies would be present in culture, but there was no way to transfer them or stain them in a way to make them visible”.
NanoLogix’s new technology uses a membrane with nanosized pores to enable rapid growth and identification of live organisms. The membrane is plucked off the agar and placed on a staining plate to make the bacteria visible. If antibodies specific to a particular bacteria or virus is present on the nanofilter, it is quickly able to indicate if a particular offender is present.
The first test of the Nanologix system has been completed at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center on a bacterium known as group B streptococcus (GBS), testing for feeding, breathing and other problems in new-born babies.
Kristin Brigger, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Houston, said: “For patients in the academic setting, patients without good prenatal care and high risk of preterm labor, it would be really good.”
The Nanologix tests can be used in any hospital lab. The company plans to submit the first test (for GBS and other gram-positive bacteria) to the FDA later this year.