Development of a low-cost point-of-care test for Tuberculosis detection

Duration: 01/11/2013 - 31/10/2016
Abstract: Pocket will develop a novel point-of-care (PoC) urine test for the detection of tuberculosis (TB), achieving at the same time a low cost (5 to 10 euro end-user cost per test, including depreciation cost of the instrument) and a high accuracy (>80% capture of TB-positive patients, which is much better than the present solutions which reach 60%). The test positions itself between current low-end immunological urine tests with limited accuracy and between high-end expensive nucleic-acid-based tests, which are not truly point-of-care. Throughout this project, special attention will be paid to both end-user requirements (performance, cost, ease-of-use, …) and to manufacturability. Pocket will go well beyond the development of a mere laboratory prototype, as in the final year of the project, the instrument will be field-tested in Africa and India. The combination of low cost and high accuracy will be achieved through a unique integration of several state-of-the-art concepts, which the partners have separately developed and of which the maturity has already been shown:

  • a nanophotonic transducer with integrated spectrum analyser developed by UGent. This will enable us to eliminate the cost associated with the inclusion of a high-end tunable laser (20k euro) that typically plagues the competing approaches using resonant optical nanophotonic sensors.
  • a high-confinement silicon nitride (SiN) platform running in a mature small-volume CMOS fab (imec). The use of SiN as opposed to the more traditional Silicon-on-Insulator material system will enable us to move the operating wavelength from 1550 nm to 900 nm, where both the sources and the detectors are significantly less expensive.
  • a novel TB detection system, based on a unique combination of high-quality antibodies for different biomarkers


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