The hand-held device, with bio-compatible sensor, can also diagnose time-critical illnesses such as meningitis, Parameswar K Iyer, one of the lead researchers, said.
“The research has enabled rapid detection of bacteria, which is not just important in healthcare, but also in anti- bioterrorism measures and environmental monitoring,” he said.
Bacterial infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality across the world, Siddhartha S Ghosh, another team member, maintained.
“Despite development of a range of antibiotics, the challenge continues to lie in diagnosing bacterial infection early on with the present techniques being extremely time-consuming,” Ghosh explained.
Currently, cells derived from a patient are cultured or grown in laboratories to detect and microanalyse bacteria in body fluids.
The new portable device, however, can instantly detect the charges on the cell walls of bacteria, Iyer said.
“These rapid detection kits are like those used for blood sugar monitoring and pregnancy detection. The sensor can detect the charges on the cell walls of bacteria,” he said, adding that the team work has been recently patented as well as published in the July 2019 issue of ‘Journal of Materials
Chemistry of the Royal Society of Chemistry’.