The high cost of diagnostic instruments has always been a major roadblock for the cost effective tests within the reach of poor. Moreover, most of them are imported into the country, making these highly expensive and unaffordable in the long run.
Working in this direction, New Delhi based Designinnova (a unit of AWS Pvt. Ltd), a company involved in product development activities in fields of biotech instrumentation, solid-state ( LED) illumination for photo bioreactors for algae growth , plant growing, tissue culture etc. and Industrial instrumentation over the past eleven years , took an initiative to devise a solution. It initiated a project in designing and developing of an affordable fluorescence reader for point-of-care diagnostics.
The partnership with two prominent institutes such as the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi and University of Turku, Finland helped the company to spearhead the project. While the huge availability of designer recombinant proteins at ICGEB that can bind to the nano-particles of all sorts came as a huge benefit, at the same time the expertise of University of Turku in the energy wavelengths was necessary for the triggering of reaction.
These diagnostics are very basic and easy to handle, requiring no extra expertise. The features such as one minute scanning and easy readability are highly appreciable. The technology works on the principle of excitation UCP nano-particle bound to a bio-molecule, excited by low energy infrared laser , as a result the fluorescence in visible region is produced by tagged particle, which are analyzed by , highly sensitive fluorescence reading instrumentation , and transmitted to computer or any media like phone , internet etc. This results in higher test sensitivity, thus, taking the sensitivity of ordinary immunoassays, closer to that of PCR range. This point-of-care technology has the potential to provide multiple diagnostic options in the future that can benefit the patients. This instrument can help to read a multiplexed point-of-care test (HIV, HCV and HBV) in less than a minute and may enhance the blood safety of the blood banks in many developing nations.
This platform design has an immense potential for the point of care diagnostic applications, both in the developing and developed nations. The use of novel up-converting phosphor technology which has the potential to remove the bottleneck of lower sensitivity associated with lateral flow or other format systems and can be adapted for tests for detection of HIV, HCV, HBV, Syphilis and Tuberculosis infections. The Use of UCP has the potential to provide inexpensive options for disease testing.