Lab-on-a-Stick: Miniaturised Clinical Testing for Fast Detection of Antibiotic Resistance
A portable power-free test for the rapid detection of bacterial resistance to antibiotics has been developed by academics at Loughborough University and the University of Reading.The new test termed Lab-on-a-Stick is an inexpensive microfluidic strip – comprising of tiny test tubes about the size of a human hair – capable of identifying bacteria found in urine samples and checking if they are resistant to common antibiotics.
Simple to use and cheap to manufacture, the Lab-on-a-Stick is a ‘dip and read’ method using a transparent microcapillary film suitable for naked eye detection or measurement with portable, inexpensive equipment such as a smartphone camera.The test, which is at least 12 times faster than current microbiological tests, is the result of research by Dr Nuno Reis, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University, and Dr Al Edwards, Associate Professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading.
The full study has been published in the Lab on a Chip journal (“Multi-Analyte Cellular Assays in a Microfluidic Dipstick”). The study showed that dipstick tests routinely used for testing in a variety of scenarios from soil pH strips for the garden to pregnancy tests, could be updated using the latest approach in miniaturised testing technology to help form the basis of a new generation of advanced, yet affordable, point-of-care tests for global diagnostics.