New diagnostic device company, Cytecom, a spin-out from the University of Warwick, has launched its ultra-fast bacterial detection device at Lab Innovations.
The discovery offers a new technology for detecting bacteria in minutes instead of waiting for lab-test results which can take days. Delays in detection can cause significant damage; infections can become life threatening very quickly if not identified and treated with appropriate antibiotics. For example, 8% of people with the severe blood infection sepsis will die for every hour of delay in proper treatment.
The fundamental basis for the technology, Cytecom SCEFI, and its applications is based upon the emerging field of bacterial electrophysiology. The team discovered that bacteria cells can respond electronically to an applied electric shock. More surprisingly, healthy bacteria cells and cells affected by antibiotics and UV light showed completely different electric reactions. This finding led to development of a device that causes live bacteria to absorb dye molecules as they depolarise after being given electrical pulses which allows rapid evaluation of effects of antibiotics on growing bacteria colonies.
Cytecom was spun out of the University of Warwick and following funding from Innovate UK and investment by Oxford Technology Management, the company demonstrated its device at the Lab Innovations Exhibition at the NEC, 30 & 31 October.