|Grant agreement no. 304814. Programme FP7-HEALTH-2012-INNOVATION-2, topic HEALTH.2012.2.3.0-1: Diagnostics for infectious diseases in humans. The overall objective of this proposal is to develop a fast and cost-effective diagnostic tool for bacterial meningitis, i.e. the detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis in cerebrospinal fluid. Kits, consisting of disposable sensing chips and separate detector units, will be developed. The tool shall be low priced and easy to use so that health workers with limited analytical training can employ the kits in the field The tool shall lead to a faster diagnosis, speeding up a targeted antibiotics treatment, thus improving the survival chances of the patient, while facilitating the identification of the infection source and the isolation of individuals, in order to halt the epidemics The main project novelty is the use of aptamer receptors. Aptamers have several advantages over conventional antibodies e.g. significantly lower price, fast development and increased stability. Three sensor technologies will be developed aiming to obtain at least one commercial product by the end of the project. All technologies share the same aptamers and surface activation of the active area. The project success depends on a tight and well-planned collaboration between partners. Partner 2 will develop the S. pneumoniae and N. meningitidis aptamers, and will provide already available micro-organism specific aptamers for parallel sensor development. The near-market technology is evanescent fluorescence, already commercialised by Partner 3. Adaptation of the aptamers and of the Eva-Sensor Chip, will be done and validated in collaboration with Partners 2 & 4. Partner 1 will develop sensors based on micro-electromechanical systems and liquid crystals. Either of these acoustic and volumetric technologies have, with limited commercial success, been used with molecular targets. Compared hereto targeting micro-organisms generate amplified signals. Partner 4 will design the fluidic chip incorporating the sensor. The resulting system will be commercialised by Partners 3 & 4.
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