The EU has funded research into a new point-of-care instrument for detection of respiratory pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumonia and Bordetella pertussis. SureScreen Life Sciences is involved with the development and management of this project.

The diagnosis of pneumococcal and pertussis is challenging because the early symptoms of illness overlap with many other bacterial and viral respiratory infections. Molecular techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) are increasingly used for the detection of respiratory pathogens, due to their high accuracy and relatively fast turnaround time (hours). Their utilisation can result in early and specific treatment, contribute to better patient outcomes and reduce the length of hospital stays.

However, implementation of rapid molecular diagnostics remains limited to large, centralised laboratories, which can afford the requirements of dedicated PCR laboratory space, specialised personnel and costly equipment and consumables.