Piezoelectric sensor determines antibiotic efficacy in 1 hour

Ward Johnson and NIST colleagues have developed a piezoelectric sensor to rapidly determine whether an antibiotic combats an infection. Quartz-crystal resonators, with varying vibrations, measure surface particle changes, to quickly sense mechanical fluctuations of bacterial cells and changes induced by an antibiotic.

 Results are provided in less than an hour.  Current antimicrobial tests require days to grow colonies of bacterial cells, which could result in the progression of infections before an effective treatment is identified, and lead to antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.

Click to view NIST video.

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Cheap, flexible biosensor detects HIV, E-coli, Staph aureas

Florida Atlantic, Stanford, and Harvard  researchers have developed a thin, lightweight, flexible “paper microchip” biosensing platform to detect and determine treatment for HIV, E-coli, Staphylococcus aureas and other bacteria. They have also created an app that could remotely detect bacteria and disease in the blood using mobile phone images.

Current paper and flexible material-based platforms cost more and take longer.  The researchers claim that the new platforms are uniquely able to isolate and detect multiple biotargets selectively, sensitively, and repeatedly from diverse biological mediums using antibodies.


Breath test for malaria

QIMR Berghofer, ANU and CSIRO researchers are developing  a breath test for malaria. Current blood testing methods have not changed since 1880.

A recent study found a marked increase in normally almost undetectable chemicals in malaria patients’ breath.  The chemicals were seen four days earlier than with a traditional microscope test, with higher sensitivity.

Malaria killed 584,000 people in 2013.  In Africa, a child dies every minute from the disease.  The hope is to prevent death through earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences.  Early registration rate ends Friday, 4/24.

Paper test detects Ebola in 10 minutes

MIT‘s Hamad-Schifferli Group and Lee Gehrke have developed a paper strip test that can detect Ebola, Yellow Fever, and Dengue Fever in 10  minutes.  The strips are color coded, using triangular silver nanoparticles, to distinguish among diseases.

The test relies on lateral flow technology,  used in pregnancy tests and for diagnosing strep throat and bacterial infections.  As blood serum flows along the strip, viral proteins that match the antibodies painted on the strips will get caught, becoming visible.  This can be seen by the naked eye or with a mobile phone’s camera.

This is the first time that a multiplexing approach, using multicolored nanoparticles to screen for multiple pathogens, has been done.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences

Smartphone blood test detects HIV, Syphilis

Columbia bioengineering professor Samuel K. Sia has developed a cheap smartphone dongle that can detect three infectious disease markers from a finger prick of blood in 15 minutes. The device replicates mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab based blood test.  It performs an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay without requiring stored energy, as power is drawn from the phone. Its triplexed immunoassay — HIV antibody, treponemal-specific antibody for syphilis, and non-treponemal antibody for active syphilis infection — is not currently available in a single test format.

This could be a breakthrough for disease prevention in the developing world.  A recent study details 96 patients in Rwanda who tested whole blood obtained via a finger prick, with the goal of preventing mother to child disease transmission.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences