New device could slash STD results times to 30 minutes

Today saw the announcement of a new of a point of care device that can deliver state of the art test results for a host of diseases in just 30 minutes.

Patients could be provided with testing and begin their treatment in just a single visit to the clinicians as soon as next year. Current waiting times can last up to ten days causing patients significant distress and delaying necessary treatment.

The device was developed by Atlas Genetics in cooperation with The Technology Partnership.

The Atlas io Reader uses a disposable cartridge to which a clinical specimen is added. The device automates the process of sample preparation, DNA amplification, and electrochemical detection to examine the patient's sample for an infection.

The Reader will initially be launched to test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Over 50m tests for the two diseases were carried out last year in Europe and the US.

The prevalence of chlamydia in young people ranges between five and 10 per cent, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Jon Clarkson, CEO of Atlas, said:

Our focus is on diseases including sexually transmitted, and hospital acquired infections, where rapid diagnosis is essential for effective treatment and control. The Atlasio™ Reader is an accurate, low cost, diagnostic instrument that has the potential to revolutionise infectious disease diagnosis by allowing clinicians to test and treat their patients in the same visit.

The Reader is scheduled for clinical trials in 2014 and will be introduced in Europe and the US if it clears regulatory hurdles. The company is also developing tests for a host of other infectious diseases including hospital acquired infections such as MRSA.

The worldwide in-vitro diagnostic market for infectious disease testing is estimated to be worth in the region of $9bn (£5.5bn).