BackgroundThere is an urgent need for rapid, sensitive, and affordable diagnostics for microbial infections at the point-of-care. Although a number of innovative systems have been reported that transform mobile phones into potential diagnostic tools, the translational challenge to clinical diagnostics remains a significant hurdle to overcome.
MethodsA smartphone-based real-time loop-mediated isothermal amplification (smaRT-LAMP) system was developed for pathogen ID in urinary sepsis patients. The free, custom-built mobile phone app allows the phone to serve as a stand-alone device for quantitative diagnostics, allowing the determination of genome copy-number of bacterial pathogens in real time.
FindingsA head-to-head comparative bacterial analysis of urine from sepsis patients revealed that the performance of smaRT-LAMP matched that of clinical diagnostics at the admitting hospital in a fraction of the time (~1 h vs. 18-28 h). Among patients with bacteremic complications of their urinary sepsis, pathogen ID from the urine matched that from the blood - potentially allowing pathogen diagnosis shortly after hospital admission. Additionally, smaRT-LAMP did not exhibit false positives in sepsis patients with clinically negative urine cultures.
InterpretationThe smaRT-LAMP system is effective against diverse Gram-negative and -positive pathogens and biological specimens, costs less than $100 US to fabricate (in addition to the smartphone), and is configurable for the simultaneous detection of multiple pathogens. SmaRT-LAMP thus offers the potential to deliver rapid diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections and urinary sepsis with a simple test that can be performed at low cost at the point-of-care. FUND: National Institutes of Health, Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.