The current method of identifying bacterial infections in hospitals involves petri dishes filled with agar and lots of patience, says Technology Review's Lauren Gravitz. But a new type of diagnostic using nanopore membranes takes the petri dish to the next level, and allows for the identification of bacteria up to five times faster than conventional methods, the company says. The new technology is from the Ohio-based company Nanologix, Gravitz says, and it "speeds up the process by wicking bacteria and viruses through the pores of its membrane, aiding growth." Then the membrane can be taken off the agar and placed on a staining plate for identification of the organisms present. There are already technologies available that work faster to identify organisms than these nanopore plates, Gravitz says. PCR, for example, can do the job in about 30 minutes. But those machines can cost a lot of money, and aren't always available in small hospitals. The Nanologix kits, on the other hand, cost between $5 and $10, she adds. The company says it has tests for E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and others, and plans to submit tests for streptococcus and other gram-positive bacteria to FDA later this year.
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