New device detects urinary tract infections in an hour

London, Aug 12 (IANS) A team of researchers in Germany and Ireland has developed a new device that dramatically cuts the time to detect bacterial species that cause urinary tract infections — a major cause of sepsis.

“In our pilot study, we were able to identify Escherichia coli (more commonly known as E. coli) and Enterococcus faecalis — two species known to cause urinary tract infections — within 70 minutes, directly from patients’ urine samples,” explained Ulrich-Christian Schroder from Leibniz Institute of Technology in Germany.

The speedy diagnosis marks a tremendous reduction in the wait time compared to the lengthy lag — often 24 hours or more — associated with methods routinely used to identify bacteria and diagnose urinary tract infections today.

The lab-on-a-disc platform uses Raman microscopy, a modern optical detection method.

This medical diagnostics device is designed to harness centrifugal force to capture the tiny bacteria directly from patients’ samples of bodily fluids…in this case, urine, the study said.

The work involves extremely small sample sizes, on the scale of a small raindrop, so the device needed to be a microfluidic one.

“Our device works by loading a few microliters of a patient’s urine sample into a tiny chip, which is then rotated with a high angular velocity so that any bacteria is guided by centrifugal force through microfluidic channels to a small chamber where ‘V-cup capture units’ collect it for optical investigation,” Schroder explained.

The findings appeared in the journal Biomicrofluidics.

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