New Biosensing Film Can Diagnose Both Viral and Bacterial Infections Cheaply and Without the Need for Traditional Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University believe this technology could also be used to detect bacteria in food and water and to follow patients’ progress after leaving acute or outpatient care

New technology could shift the paradigm in infectious disease testing by clinical laboratories, while also giving hospitals a faster way to identify hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) and monitor patients for infections post-discharge. The diagnostic technology is built into a special “biosensing film” made of cellulose paper and a flexible polymer.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) developed the biosensing film. They say it can detect and discern HIV, Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli and other bacteria in blood, plasma, and saliva. The test is inexpensive, disposable, and portable. Best of all (at least for developing countries, remote locations, and places that have few resources), it requires no expensive infrastructure or a clinical laboratory.

And yes, the biosensing film is designed to work in tandem with a smartphone app. But in this case, the mobile app is only part of the story. The real genius is the piece of lightweight, flexible, “electronic paper” or “biosensing film” used with the app. The film acts as a platform that detects infections, both viral and bacterial.

The story of this inventive biosensing film is detailed in a Scientific Reports article in the March 5, 2015, edition of Nature. (more…)