TwistDx’s rapid test for MRSA winner in NHS Smart Solutions
10 February 2009
TwistDx, a DNA diagnostics company based in Cambridge, UK, has been
selected as a winner in a National Health Service competition to find
new ways to help combat healthcare associated infections (HCAIs).
A rapid, portable, point-of-care test for Methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), developed by TwistDx based on a new
way of detecting DNA, was one of nine products chosen from approximately
250 applications submitted to the Smart Solutions for HCAI programme, an
NHS project that aims to identify innovative technologies with the
potential to fight hospital bugs.
TwistDx’s MRSA test and the other winning products will be evaluated
in a hospital setting early 2009. If effective, the MRSA test could be
used in patient screening protocols throughout the NHS.
“Being selected as a winner in this NHS programme is a great result
not only for TwistDx but for patients who may benefit from this advance.
For MRSA screening to work efficiently, it is vitally important that an
accurate test result is available quickly at the point of entry to care
as well at the bed-side. We believe our MRSA test is ideally suited to
cost-effectively meet these requirements and will ultimately make a
dramatic improvement in patient care,” noted Dr. Niall Armes, CEO of
TwistDx is applying its novel DNA technology, Recombinase Polymerase
Amplification (RPA), to develop a rapid, portable test for MRSA that has
the potential to give results within 10-15 mins. RPA is a new DNA
amplification technology that allows diagnostic tests to retain the
highest possible levels of specificity and sensitivity, while adding
superior speed and portability compared to current DNA diagnostics.
Current methods for detecting MRSA include a variety of microbiological
and DNA diagnostic tests, which usually require centralised testing and
can take up to 48 hours or more for results.
The RPA-based MRSA test will offer immediate diagnosis and, if
positive, allow nursing staff to take appropriate action to prevent the
spread of the infection. The low instrumentation needs and ease of use
of the TwistDx MRSA test offers the possibility of minimal access costs
to implement gold standard molecular testing throughout the health care
MRSA is a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus
aureus (staph) that has evolved an ability to survive treatment with
antibiotics, including penicillin, methicillin, and cephalosporins. The
NHS and other health authorities worldwide have recognised that MRSA is
especially troublesome in hospital-associated infections as hospital
patients with open wounds, invasive devices and weakened immune systems
are at greater risk for infection than the general public.
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