A super fast, integrated and simple diagnostic tool for MRSA screening.
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is a highly contagious and asymptomatic bacterial infection. It has the potential to transmit rapidly between hospital patients since it spreads by open wounds, burns, feeding tubes, or by being in contact with shared surfaces (It forms biofilms on surfaces that infected individuals touch). Consequently, hospital administrators and staff would like to identify and isolate infected individuals as rapidly and as efficiently as possible before these individuals can transmit MRSA to other patients. The current diagnostic technology is the bacteria culture and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which unfortunately take >24 hours and ~8 hours respectively to retrieve a result. We believe that diagnoses can be done even more rapidly with microfluidic devices, which offer the essential advantage of analyzing smaller volumes at faster rates. This in turn leads to a rapid diagnosis (within 10 minutes).
Our product is a microfluidic device which screens admitted hospital patients for MRSA. We call it MinutesToMRSA. Imagine a world where a nurse can perform an automated diagnostic test at the point of care (at the patient’s bedside) and retrieve results within minutes. Getting this product from ideation to widespread use in hospitals is an example of High-Throughput Screening and Diagnostics Engineering: we identified a clinical need, we proposed a viable solution which will improve healthcare outcomes, and we embark on this project to design the product. We expect the following outcomes when our product is available: Hospital staff will have an easier time micromanaging both patients and isolated rooms and they will be able to make more informed decisions about using the antibiotic vancomycin. Hospital administrators will spend less money on vancomycin and on controlling outbreaks. Patients will appreciate that their practitioners can make timely and informed decisions on how to proceed with their treatment.