Nanomal is developing a low cost device to address a real market need for full malaria diagnosis from sample to result in under 15 minutes at the patient’s side. We’re taking complex DNA analysis and simplifying it for use by health workers from all types of backgrounds and healthcare environments. By integrating diagnostics with cell phone technology we’re also able to support health workers in not only diagnosing and prescribing the right anti-malarial but also to support educating their patients at the time of consultation and remotely in their homes and at work.
QuantuMDx has created a simple solution for on-chip DNA extraction and PCR that is capable of performing the lysis and extraction of malaria DNA from a pinprick of blood and then amplifying up the malaria DNA regions of interest, via an on-chip thermal cycler, ready for detection. This process, which normally takes a number of hours in a regular laboratory, takes minutes with Nanomal technology.
QuantuMDx’s novel nanowire based biosensor detects the binding of the regions of malaria DNA of interest to probes immobilized on the surface of the array of nanowires. This detection is based upon the DNA’s innate electrical charge which means there’s no fluorescence, no optics and no light. This allows Nanomal to miniaturise the processes of a complex laboratory into a handheld which will be the first time this has been achieved. The biosensor then converts the electrical signal straight into binary code, the universal language of computers. As we use standard CMOS produced computer chips, the Consortium is able to bring down the cost of complex malaria diagnostics into the low price point of routine pathology testing and, moreover, deliver this testing at the patient’s side.
Nanomal will also be using QuantuMDx’s proprietary genomic sequencing biosensor to sequence areas of the malaria genome conferring drug resistance. The nanowires within the genomic sequencer have been arrayed and functionalized for long reads lengths as well as undertaking shotgun sequencing, vital for clinical utility and identifying emerging drug resistance in real time.
St George’s will be developing a far-reaching malaria assay to port onto the diagnostic platform which not only detects the malaria species but a wide range of genetic mutations which confer drug resistance within the malaria parasite. This definitive assay coupled with on-chip sequencing of parts of the malaria genome will provide the most comprehensive test ever for malaria diagnosis