The need for a fast, cheap and accurate biosensor for vancomycin is pretty clear: this antibiotic is used as a last resource for people risking death. Depending on its concentration in the blood it can either save or take lives away. A too high concentration can cause ototoxicity and nephrotoxicity, while a dose too low will not be effective.
Our idea? Simple.
Our test uses a method known as lateral flow assay, which is the same principle that glucose biosensors and pregnancy tests use. It is able to detect very small variations in concentration and its results are very easy to understand. Our biosensor is made up of a single strip of nitrocellulose membrane which will get in contact with a sample of blood plasma from the patient. The results from the lateral flow assay is then analysed with our (downloadable) app for smartphones and the output obtained in a matter of minutes! The app is user friendly and even people with no medicine background will easily be able to do their own tests.
To this day there is nothing on the market similar to our project, but plenty of requests for vancomycin detection methods. This implies that not only our biosensor will have a huge impact on people’ lives, but it also has no competition in terms of its marketing future.
Our team consists of 10 passionate and dedicated undergraduate Imperial students, striving to apply their knowledge to solve real-life problems.