Biotech Resources breakthrough in diagnosing blood-borne disease

Melbourne medical technology business, Biotech Resources had landed a comprehensive US patent covering a revolutionary device that can rapidly detect disease carrying pathogens in the blood.

The company, which is developing technology from the Monash University Centre for Biospectroscopy, has been awarded a patent covering detection of a range of disease including fungal infection, HIV, hepatitis and diabetes.

The device, the first based on an infrared spectrometer, can also create a full blood profile testing for haemoglobin, sugar levels, or urea in the blood, all within an hour.

Previously Biotech Resources had only limited US patent coverage for the detection of malaria.

The device is low-cost and portable, and is currently testing for bacterial and fungal pathogens in collaboration with Professor Anton Peleg of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Alfred Hospital.

One of the scientists behind the new company Professor Bayden Wood said: “This technology represents a paradigm shift for disease diagnostics and has such been recognised with patent rights.

“It means doctors could triage a patient faster and more effectively than ever before – right at the point of care.

“Current techniques can take days to return a diagnosis, but this technique can provide initial diagnoses within an hour, allowing patients with life-threatening infections or illness to be treated without delay.”

The other co-inventors are Dr Philip Heraud of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Dr David Perez-Guaita of the School of Chemistry.

The process they have applied to blood analysis in its aqueous state is correctly known as Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

It detects parasites, viruses, bacteria or fungi through their specific biochemical signatures, related to the presence of nucleic acids as well as unique lipid and protein compositions.

The method is extraordinarily precise – it can even differentiate between normal bacteria and those resistant to antibiotics.

The company’s lead product will be Aimalux, a test for blood sepsis.

Biotech Resources has received a few small Victorian state and federal government commercialisation grants, and works with the assistance of Monash University, The Alfred Hospital, The Burnet Institute and the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory.

Picture: Biotech Resources

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