Detection of Bacterial and Viral Pathogens Using Fluorescence Activated Sensing Technology (FAST System)
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Reference #: 2004-002 & 2009-010
Researchers at Georgetown University have developed a sensitive method for detecting the presence of any microorganism (such as bacteria or virus) in an infection, contamination or otherwise that affect human and animal health. The method involves a real time isothermal reaction that amplifies the signal generated by a fluorescent DNA probe that binds specifically to the target organism. In cases where maximum speed and sensitivity are required, signal amplification occurs at the same time as targeted DNA amplification.
- Diagnosis of infectious diseases (human, animal or plant diseases)
- Diagnosis of hospital infections, such as MRSA
- Diagnosis of COVID-19
- Diagnosis of ESKAPE organisms
- Detection of biowarfare agents- can be used for a rapid, specific, and sensitive detection of any biological threat agent such as anthrax or plaque.
- Food and water surveillance
- Environmental monitoring
- SNP analysis and genotyping
- As a biological research tool
- Broad spectrum: detects bacteria and both DNA and RNA viruses
- Sensitive: detection levels approaching a single organism
- Specific: no cross-reactivity with closely related organisms
- Rapid: results in minutes
- Robust: works with unpurified samples
- High throughput: can be multiplexed and automated
- Stability: processed samples can be archived for future testing
- Isothermal: does not use thermocycling
- Multiple applications: works with environmental, biological and diagnostic samples
- Extremely low false positive and false negatives rates
- Extreme sensitivity towards RNA based microorganisms
- No highly specialized equipment is required
- No unusual training is required
Stage of Development
Studies have demonstrated that the assay can be used to specifically detect the presence of (1) Bacillus anthracis pX01 and pX02 plasmids; (2) Escherichia coli genomic DNA; (3) Bacillus subtilis genomic DNA; (4) different Dengue serotypes in a highly sensitive single-tube multiplex assay; (5) Chlamydia trachomatis in human urine.
The initial work was funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and focused on the development of a stand-alone instrument capable of detecting bioterror threat organisms. As a part of that work, Georgetown scientists developed probes against Bacillus anthracis that have been validated by DoD. The researchers developed and delivered to DoD a semi-automated prototype of a stand-alone detector that uses these probes.
Mark Danielsen, Eugene Davidson, Kenneth L. Dretchen, Berenice Alfonso, and Bolor Tumurpurev
Sequence specific detection of DNA using nicking endonuclease signal amplification (NESA); Danielsen M et al; Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(18):e117.
US issued patents:
9,012,142 issued April 21, 2015
9,562,258 issued Feb, 7, 2017
10,023,905 issued July 17, 2018
10, 246,739 issued April 2, 2019