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Published on Nov 20, 2009
Diarrhea is a major cause of death from bowel infections; it is estimated that 7000 people/day die from diarrhea worldwide, rapid diagnosis of the disease vectors would help save lives. We have reported that the volatile organic compounds emitted from feces change in disease (Garner, FASEBJ 2007). This has led to the recent development of a prototype device that responds to volatile organic compounds with a fast diagnosis of the disease vector. In particular we have recently developed the technology for identifying C. difficile which is reported in 50,000 people in England and Wales each year; of these patients 9000 die. C. difficile costs the EU 4Billion Euro p/a. There is potential to scale up our prototype device to diagnose a wide range of infectious vectors in stool inc. Campylobacter and cholera. The volatile detection test is a very low cost compared to toxin assays, the sensors are long lived and have low manufacturing costs. It is envisaged that an unskilled operative, at the bed-side, will be able to diagnose the diarrhea infectious vector within 30minutes CONCLUSION: Our device has the capability to diagnose C. difficile and other infections and is easy to operate, gives a diagnosis in 30 minutes. Furthermore, early experiments with a superfast device promise to be equally accurate, but in just 10 minutes. These devices have potential for point of care applications. We intend to have a proven investment-ready device, which can be rapidly brought to the market place to improve patient care, within 3years.