In conjunction with reference laboratories of the World Health Organization (WHO), medtech company Curetis AG is developing new technologies and products that identify the pathogens of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and their resistance. The solutions are impressive, cutting detection time from up to several weeks to a few hours and delivering results that are far more precise and meaningful than with previous procedures.
Dr. Anne Thews, physician and member of the management team of Curetis AG, commenting on the benefits of its procedure, says: “In the fight against infections, it is crucial that bacteria and their resistance are detected quickly and accurately to enable treatment using the correct antibiotic to be started promptly.”The diagnostic solutions of Curetis AG, which was only founded in August 2007, enable the pathogen and its resistance to be detected in less than four hours, a process that can take up to ten weeks with conventional bacterial cultures. In addition, the analytical equipment is so simple and robust in its design that it can be used in the field and without any difficulty in countries where the spread of infection is at its greatest – India, China, southern Africa and the states of the former Soviet Union – thereby also preventing a large-scale spread to other regions of the Earth.As well as TB, Curetis AG also sees a second global threat of infection. Hospital-acquired infections, or HAI for short, are developing into increasingly major problems. The most recent findings suggest a figure of 18 million serious instances of this form of infection in 2006. Growing resistance to a large number of drugs is also the real problem here. “In cases of doubt, patients are given the antibiotic currently available. But whether this actually helps is often purely a matter of luck,” explains Dr. Thews. “Only by using diagnostics, which precisely identifies the pathogen and its resistance within a few hours, can such stabs in the dark, which encourage the development of new resistance, be avoided in the future.”The over 100-year old procedure of growing bacteria on culture media is today augmented by new molecular diagnostic methods in only a few diagnostic centres. However, these advanced methods involve complex procedures and unwieldy and expensive diagnostic equipment in tandem with high-tech laboratories. The patient sample is broken down, the pathogens it contains are comminuted, their DNA is isolated, reproduced using the “PCR” polymerase chain reaction and, last of all, specifically identified.The Curetis solution integrates all these steps and, for the first time ever, combines the familiar and proven laboratory methods in a single, compact, closed entity. This universal diagnostics platform can be fitted with various cassettes to detect different infections. The base station is no larger than a laser printer. “Our biggest challenge was not, as might have been thought, to develop a new test,” says Dr. Thews, “but to develop a robust technology that can be used by medical staff even right in the heart of Africa while still delivering reliable diagnostic results.”
Further Information:Dr. Anne ThewsDirector Marketing & SalesMax-Eyth-Straße 4271088 HolzgerlingenTel.: 07031/ 49195-32