Low cost point-of-care testing for early sepsis diagnosis

Oscar Alonso


    Oscar Alonso


    Fundació Bosch i Gimpera, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain


    Early diagnosis of sepsis is as crucial as it is difficult. If the condition is not recognised soon enough and antibiotic treatment is not initiated quickly, it can progress rapidly and put patients at high risk. Diagnosis is based on detecting antibody levels in blood, but it requires complex optical technologies that are expensive.

    To develop a low cost miniature point-of-care (POC) device that does not require complex optical systems, making sepsis diagnosis easier and cheaper.

    Problem to Solve
    Sepsis is a serious disease that kills more people than any type of cancer, often because it is difficult to identify in its early stages. If it is undetected for too long, it can progress rapidly to severe sepsis or septic shock, and is lethal in 50% of cases.
    Procalcitonin (PCT) is the most sensitive biomarker to help diagnose bacterial sepsis. POC devices have been developed to detect PCT levels by measuring fluorescence intensity, but background noise in test procedures can lead to false positives. Moreover, this technique is expensive and requires large, complex devices.

    POCSIS technology measures PCT levels through fluorescence lifetime, based on analogue processing instead of a digital method. This does not require complex optical systems, and it is free of background noise and false positives.

    Level of Innovation
    The technology has been tested in biological samples, and has proven to be useful by showing impressive sensitivity. It is a simpler technology that is a smaller and more affordable alternative for early sepsis diagnostics and control.