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Posted: April 28, 2009

Rapid Screening for Swine Flu and Other Pathogens Using Novel Nanotechnology Based Plastic Electronics

(Nanowerk News) Envision ALR, an emerging technology investment & operating company announced today that it is commercialising a new form of nanotechnology based infectious disease detection system with the capability to distinguish between different flu strains within seconds. The technology has already been shown to be effective in lab tests and the company is now accelerating the commercialisation program.
Envision ALR CEO Wassim Mourtada explained from Abu Dhabi “Global pandemics, or even the fear of them have a severe economic impact. With current disease identification technologies requiring blood samples to be shipped to a laboratory for testing, distinguishing between pandemic strains and common ones can take up to twenty-four hours. Our technology has the potential to reduce this to under a minute, requires either a pin prick of blood or a salvia sample and will deliver the result of the diagnoses on the spot.”
The technology is based on printed electronics, making use of the unique properties of a number of nanoparticle based inks and is rapid, accurate, and the hand held device is easily portable for use in doctors surgeries, hospitals or airports. The system works for both bacterial and viral pathogens, and tests performed by the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC using Staphylococcus Enterotoxin B showed a two order of magnitude improvement over the current ‘Lab Golden Standard’ test.
President of Nanotechnologies at Envision ALR, Tim Harper commented, “We originally made this acquisition as a platform technology to enable a wide range of low cost high speed point of care applications, from allergy testing to infectious disease control. Given the concern over the current potential Swine Flu pandemic we have decided to accelerate our development and will have devices in the field by the end of the year. These will be capable of rapidly distinguishing between pathogens, reducing false alarms and making better use of healthcare facilities, and the use of printed electronics means that large numbers of devices can be quickly produced to respond to any new emerging pathogen.”
Source: Envision (press release)
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