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Bärbar influensa diagnostic "FLU-ID"

Diarienummer
SBE13-0125
Start- och slutdatum
140701-210107
Beviljat belopp
31 846 801 kr
Förvaltande organisation
Chalmers University of Technology
Forskningsområde
Bioteknik, medicinsk teknik och teknik för livsvetenskaperna

Summary

This interdisciplinary project aims at developing a portable diagnostics unit, which will enable the rapid detection of influenza directly at the point of care. The envisioned unit is based on state-of-the-art micro-, and nanotechnologies, and will enable the detection and identification of influenza viruses. We envision a fast, low-cost bioassay, an ultra-sensitive magnetic detection scheme and a handheld point-of-care device. Sample preparation, assay and interface to the detector are provided through a microfluidic lab-on-a-chip. The work load is distributed over 4 work packages: Magnetic nucleic acid assay development; Detector development; Lab-on-a-chip and sample processing; Device construction, integration, testing and benchmarking. We anticipate the successful development of a set of methods and instruments for point of care diagnostics: biochemical assays for the detection of influenza nucleic acid targets, prototypes of magnetic sensing technologies, a disposable lab-on-a-chip system for sample preparation, transport, processing and measurement, and finally a portable, inexpensive diagnostics device. The project will generate Swedish-owned IP and competitive competence developed by Swedish researchers. The new methods and instruments are generic and not limited to influenza. Many relevant microorganisms, for example staphylococci (MRSA), parasitic protozoa (malaria) and zoonotic pathogens (~60% of all pathogens infecting humans) require a similar approach.

Populärvetenskaplig beskrivning

In recent years influenza has received considerable attention due to the potential of causing a pandemic. An influenza pandemic is unlike any other public health emergency or natural disaster in terms of complexity, distribution and ability to devastate Sweden, Europe and the world. The H1N1 swine flu was the latest example of such a pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other similar international and national organizations keep currently close attention on the spread of a new and highly pathogenic influenza variant (H5N7) in China. However, the more typical seasonal influenza remains the most frequent annual cause of acute respiratory illnesses requiring medical intervention. It has been estimated by the WHO that during each annual influenza epidemics 5-15% of the population is affected, with an associated 3-5 million severe cases and 250, 000-500, 000 deaths worldwide. Children have the highest influenza attack rates, with annual incidence rates of up to 30%. In the USA, influenza accounts for US$1-3 billion in direct medical costs each year; indirect costs, including lost earnings due to illness and lost future earnings due to death, are much higher, in the range US$10-15 billion per year. The figures for Europe are of similar magnitude. In order to limit health related consequences, as well as the economic burden, rapid, sensitive and specific diagnostic assays are critical to enabling adequate patient care, preventing patient-to-patient spread of infection and minimizing unnecessary antibiotic use. A reliable assay with a short turn-around-time for detecting influenza-infections in respiratory samples is thus highly desirable. Established testing procedures have a time demand ranging from 3-10 days to <30 min. However, all currently recommended tests with sufficiently high sensitivity are in practice performed in dedicated laboratories. The instrumentation is typically large and expensive, and is therefore not available at the point of care or in smaller emergency wards, so the actual time required is typically on the order of hours. We aim to develop a low-cost and portable nano-diagnostics unit that shortens the total time for the diagnostic test to below 60 minutes and with very high diagnostic accuracy, which will provide an efficient analytical platform for rapid detection of pandemic influenza directly at the point of care.