When someone is admitted to the hospital, doctors often have to treat them with antibiotics while awaiting the results of time-consuming tests, with even the most advanced microbiology culture taking several days to get results.
Patients, therefore, stay in the hospital longer than necessary and receive ineffective treatment, which increases the risk of antibiotic resistance – a major problem highlighted by the World Health Organization and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By giving a clear diagnosis, molecular diagnostic tests make it possible to treat the exact cause of illness quickly. This prevents unnecessary antibiotic use, lengthy and costly hospital stays, excessive medical procedures, redundant doctor’s visits, prolonged illness, and deaths.
Based in Barcelona, STAT-Dx started out with a small team but grew quickly, partly thanks to the Horizon 2020 backing. Its DiagCORE platform allows molecular diagnostic tests to be performed in about an hour, compared with 4-6 hours using other methods.
“DiagCORE offers on-demand testing, which means the instrument is ready whenever and wherever a test needs to be run,” said company co-founder Jordi Carrera.
“With other methods, samples are often batched before testing and laboratories might be closed when the test result becomes available. This further delays the results needed to make critical clinical decisions,” said Carrera.
Carrera also stresses the simplicity and safety of the system. “DiagCORE can work with most specimens without extensive offline preparation,” he said. “Our cartridge has embedded sample preparation capabilities."
"That simplifies and increases the security of the work of laboratory technicians and enables the platform to be directly installed in the clinical wards. They do not need to use harmful chemicals, sharps or be unnecessarily exposed to infectious materials. It also enables less skilled people to use the system in point-of-care settings," said Carrera.