Taiwan-based health and biotech company MedFluid has developed a rapid automated bacterial identification screening tool that can also tailor antibiotic treatments to an infection.
The device will allow for faster disease diagnosis as well as offer specified medical prescriptions. This is particularly important as both bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance are on the rise worldwide, making it critical to have timely diagnoses and optimal treatments.
The tool can select different combinations of multiple antibiotics deemed suitable for treating specific bacterial infections.
MedFluid’s personalized antibiotic screening platform—called fAST—is a fully automated tool that is based on microfluidics technology. It identifies bacteria using both genotypic and phenotypic assessments within 1.5 hours, and conducts the multiple antibiotics combination test within five hours, allowing for same-day diagnosis and initiation of treatment.
MedFluid says it is committed to optimizing the quality of patient-specific medication for infectious disease.
Untreatable antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the cause of 700,000 deaths per year worldwide, and this number is expected to rise as resistant strains continue to emerge.
MedFluid founder and head of microfluidics R&D Bon Lee said that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance was one of the ten threats to global health in 2019. “It is happening around the world, and North America alone has more than 2 million cases and 23,000 deaths.”
To address this, MedFluid’s fAST tool will offer rapid screening and identify any antibiotics combinations to treat so-called ‘superbacteria,’ instead of existing treatments.
Lee said, “Global research shows that 50 percent usage of antibiotics is inappropriate, and empirical treatment is one of the main causes. Empirical treatment usually gives two to three antibiotics at the same time to suppress unknown bacteria.”
He goes on to say, “No medical device currently in the market is able to conduct an antibiotics combination test to either confirm or predict if a combination is effective. Moreover, the current, time-consuming procedure for antimicrobial susceptibility test (AST) needs to be addressed urgently.”
fAST is highly sensitive (requiring only one percent of samples used in current AST methods), rapid and flexible as it offers clinicians the ability to conduct personalized tests and prescribe up to three different antibiotics in a treatment plan.
fAST: Automated Bacteria Identification and Multiple Antibiotics Combination Test
MedFluid’s in vitro diagnostic (IVD) platform fAST is based on microfluidics as its core technology. The test is geared towards precision medicine for antibiotics in order to target the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.
“We are committed to developing microfluidic platforms for rapid detection and screening tools used in disease diagnosis and to supporting precise medical prescriptions to improve the health and well-being of patients …We are committed to optimizing the quality of patient-specific medications for infectious disease,” said Lee.
The tool shortens detection time from 24 hours with traditional methods, to just five hours. Importantly, the combinatory platform also allows physicians to conduct personalized tests for antibiotic determination, allowing for combinations of up to three different kinds of antibiotics at once.
“We are the fastest first-in-class system on the market that can optimize three different kinds of antibiotic combinations, providing clinicians with accurate and personalized results,” said Lee.
MedFuid was founded in 2018, and in less than two years, the company has received numerous recognitions for its work. The company won the Entrepreneurship Outstanding Award from the MOST FITI Innovation & Startups Program in June 2019, and was also the winner of the 2019 InnoVEX Grand Prize and Special Award.