A team of Macquarie Uni researchers, led by Dr Yiqing Lu, have developed a new method for detecting several different types of pathogens like Ebola, Hepatitis B and HIV, present within a single sample.
The technique uses a high-speed scanner to ‘decode’ tunable photonic nanocrystals or ‘t-dots’, which the scanner identifies and uses to differentiate several different types of pathogens simultaneously and very quickly.
The new technique eliminates the need to undertake multiple tests, or to waste time growing sample cultures for testing. This enables faster treatment, which lead researcher at Macquarie Uni, Dr Yiqing Lu, says can be “life saving when managing aggressive disease states like meningococcal”. The technique also allows for the rapid collection of large amounts of data, which can be used to diagnosis.
ARC Future Fellow, Associate Professor Dayong Jin, said the method is also an important personalised medicine. He said, “Individuals’ genetic signatures are often behind the frequent failures of traditional symptom-diagnostics.” The team’s new technique gets around this problem by enabling treatments to be tailored to an individual’s unique genetic profile.
The Macquarie University team has developed a working prototype, but are seeking a commercial partner to help verify the clinical efficacy of the technique and to develop it further.