Currently, pathogenic microorganisms are IDed on “post culture positive” samples via their phenotype.  This involves running a series of reactions to test for the production/consumption of specific proteins/enzymes.  Each one of these reactions are specific to certain types of bacteria.
Those biochemical reactions are run on chromogenic (ie color changing) or fluorogenic (fluorescence output) substrates.  A color/fluorescence change in a particular well denotes a positive for that particular reaction.
Because of the inherently poor detection sensitivity of the chromogenic/fluorogenic substrates, these reactions are slow to run ~ they can take upto 24 hours.  Because they are run on blood culture positive samples, the results are too slow to impact patient care.

Our Approach

In our InSpector-01 tool, we characterize the metabolic activity of the causative pathogen via the reaction between free radicals (produced by all pathogens) and certain reaction sites attached to serum albumin (in our reagent).  This makes the InSpector-01 tool responsive to all pathogens.

We can do the same measurement, but with a specific modification to the reaction sites in serum albumin, such that the reaction is specific to metabolites produced by individual bacteria.  This is the same phenotyping reaction carried out by current tools, but with a significantly better sensitivity enabled by our amplification methods.

Our methods are responsive to specific pathogens, with a demonstrated limit of detection of about 10 CFUs in our test vial, with a 20 minute test.  Accordingly, we can phenotype the causative pathogen within 1 hour of the blood draw.

Current Status

While the basic concepts for this technology have been demonstrated, it still requires some development.  Each phenotyping reaction requires specific modifications to serum albumin.  Each one of those modifications requires about 4-6 months to develop and test.  Accordingly, we anticipate that this tool will require another 2-3 years of development.