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Development of a compatible nanoparticle based rapid and sensitive diagnostic platform for microbial infections

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RapidDiag (Development of a compatible nanoparticle based rapid and sensitive diagnostic platform for microbial infections)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE) estimates that in the UK alone, over 10 million needless antibiotic prescriptions are written each year. This is not only a waste of financial resources, but also leads to the development of drug resistant bacteria strains. Bacteria developing drug resistance is a serious matter. A World Health Organisation report released in 2014 states, “this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Antibiotic resistance-when bacterial change, so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections-is not a major threat to public health”. A diagnostic kit, such as the product proposed for development by LIG Biowise, will save millions of euros in costs associated with the over prescription of antibiotics for viral infections and lead to reductions in the number of drug resistant bacteria.
The work was focused on two key stages for the development of a rapid diagnostic system: antibody conjugation to nanoparticles and development of a target specific testing system. In the first stage an optimum method to conjugate the pathogen-specific antibodies or peptides onto graphene oxide (GO) coated magnetic nanoparticles was explored and characterised using immunofluorescent imaging and immune-gold TEM, and the efficiency of bacterial pulldown was assessed. The second stage of investigation was to develop and validate a pathogen detection technique. Based on DNA and RNA sequences of common bacterial and viral strains that cause upper respiratory tract infections, different set of primers targeting specific regions were designed. Designed diagnostic assays for rapid and reliable identification of the causal agents were optimised and compared to conventional and reference method. Visualisation method was developed and employed in the system.
Infectious diseases are one of the major cases of global morbidity and mortality, resulting in 16.2% of deaths per year (BCC Research, 2016). Infectious diseases are mainly carried through bacteria, viruses or parasites. Bacterial infections lead to the death of approximately 2.5 million people worldwide from bacterial pneumonia, TB and MRSA. Viral diseases, such as HIV, influenza and hepatitis, resulted in 3.1 million deaths worldwide in 2010 (Health, 2013). Delayed diagnosis and treatment have a profound effect on mortality rates and many bacterial and viral diseases present with similar patient symptoms. Hence, there is a clear need for a fast detection system to assist health care professionals correctly diagnose illness. The research performed and ongoing at LIG Biowise will develop a platform for rapid and sensitive diagnostic kit for human and animal pathogens. It is envisaged that this platform of pathogen-specific, antibody-conjugated, biodegradable nanoparticles will become the core technology for future precision treatments of microbial infections.
Summary of the technology