World’s most sensitive test developed to spot superbugs and diseases. Biointerfaces Institute has successfully developed various paper-based screening techniques, which enable user to scan individuals, food or environment for infection or contamination and produce simple and clear results on test paper.

Test To Spot Superbugs

Researchers from the McMaster University have successfully developed the world’s most sensitive test for detecting a variety of infectious diseases and superbugs. Using this unique diagnostic tool, diseases such a hepatitis C and the presence of deadly superbugs, including C. difficile and MRSA, can be easily and efficiently detected. The novel method was described in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Fundamentals Of Test

Using highly sophisticated techniques, the research team produced a ‘molecular device’ from DNA. The device is capable of switching ‘on’ when a certain molecule – such as a specific disease indicator or genomic DNA of a virus – makes contact with it. This leads to the generation of a massive amplified signal that can be easily detected.

The diagnostic method works by detecting even the slightest traces of proteins, metabolites or DNA fragments. In principle, it is extremely sensitive to the presence of any compound or substance that might indicate an infection/infectious disease – gastrointestinal or respiratory.

John Brennan, Director of McMaster’s Biointerfaces Institute where the test was developed, stated that the method allowed them to detect pathogens and disease-causing substance at levels that were previously unprecedented. He added that as compared to the best sensitivity ever reported for a test, their diagnostic tool was 10,000 times more sensitive.

Future Prospects

Besides being ultra-sensitive and efficient, researchers claim that the method does not use any complicated equipment and no specific requirements, such as a particular temperature or time, is required to run the test.

“This will be the foundation for us to create future diagnostic tests”, highlighted Yingfu Li, Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry and Chemical Biology. “This invention will allow us to detect anything we might be interested in – bacterial contamination or a protein molecule that is a cancer marker. Our method can sensitively detect all of them, and it can do so in a relatively short period of time”.

Researchers are now working to transfer the test onto a paper surface with hopes of creating a portable point-of-care test. This would effectively eliminate the requirement of lab instruments and facilitate physicians and family members to conduct the test at their clinics and homes respectively.

The Biointerfaces Institute has successfully developed various paper-based screening techniques. These enable the user to scan individuals, food or the environment for infection or contamination and produce simple and clear results on test paper.