IIT Guwahati Researchers Develop Revolutionary 3D Printed Device for Rapid UTI Diagnosis
GUWAHATI, 1st August 2023: A breakthrough achievement by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) promises to transform healthcare accessibility with their fast, accurate, and cost-effective device for detecting specific bacteria causing Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Led by Dr. Partho Sarathi Gooh Pattader, the research team has introduced a Point-Of-Care Testing (POCT) prototype that can identify the type of bacteria in a UTI suspected patient within an astonishing 5 minutes, a drastic improvement over conventional methods that take several days using urine culture.
Affordable Healthcare Solutions: Cost-Effective Device Benefits Rural Areas
One of the most significant advantages of the prototype device lies in its cost-effectiveness, offering a potential game-changer for rural areas where UTI cases often go undetected due to limited testing facilities and high costs. The estimated manufacturing cost of the device stands at a mere Rs 608, and testing a single sample will cost just Rs. 8, making it an affordable solution accessible to all.
The research findings have been published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal ACS Applied Bio Materials, showcasing the device’s reliability and potential to revolutionize UTI diagnosis. The paper was co-authored by Mr. Aniruddha Deb, Dr. Partho Sarathi Gooh Pattader, Prof. Tapas K Mandal from IIT Guwahati, and Dr. Swapnil Sinha and Ms. Mousumi Gogoi from Altanostic Lab Private Limited, IITG Research Park.
Research Methodology: Generic Prototype for Identifying Different Bacterial Types
UTI remains a prevalent health concern worldwide, especially among females during pregnancy, caused by various bacteria. The most common symptoms include painful urination and frequent urges to urinate, which can lead to severe health complications if the infection spreads to the kidneys. In many rural areas, UTI cases go undetected due to the lack of adequate infrastructure, high testing costs, and time-consuming conventional methods.
The conventional approach to diagnosing UTI is through urine culture, a process that takes a minimum of two days. The delay in detection prevents doctors from promptly administering antibiotics to treat the UTI, leaving patients to suffer in some cases and risking potentially fatal outcomes.
Dr. Partho Sarathi Gooh Pattader, Associate Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, emphasizes the life-saving significance of their research, stating, “Early-stage detection of UTI is important to provide timely treatment. The Point-Of-Care Testing (POCT) prototype developed at IIT Guwahati is a photodetector that detects and quantifies a specific UTI-causing bacteria called ‘Klebsiella pneumoniae’ within five minutes from a patient’s urine sample. The detection of ‘Klebsiella pneumoniae’ is important not only because this bacteria is responsible for UTI, but also for pneumonia and for the infection of soft tissue.”
Funding for this groundbreaking research by IIT Guwahati was provided by esteemed institutions, including the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.
The device’s mechanism utilizes gold nanoparticles with specially-engineered aptamers, acting like 3D puzzle pieces that selectively attach to the surface of specific bacteria. Upon combination with aptamer-gold nanoparticles, the target bacteria’s unique signature can be detected using a UV-Visible Spectrophotometer. The biosensor prototype offers rapid detection due to the instant combination of the aptamer and bacteria. Additionally, the generic nature of the developed prototype makes it adaptable for identifying different types of bacteria, promising significant contributions to primary healthcare.
Dr. Swapnil Sinha from Altanostic Lab Private Limited, IIT Guwahati Research Park, and collaborator of this research shares his optimism for the device’s applications, stating, “We have demonstrated and validated the results obtained from our device with the hospital results following conventional methods. It matches very well. Thus, the technology can be optimized and transferred to a company for commercialization for the benefit of society.”
The introduction of this 3D printed diagnostic device marks a significant leap forward in enhancing healthcare accessibility, particularly in rural areas where UTI cases have often gone unnoticed and untreated. With its potential to provide swift detection and early intervention, this innovation stands as a beacon of hope in the pursuit of improved health outcomes, empowering communities with an essential tool for a healthier future.