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IIT Guwahati Unveils 3D Printed Device For Rapid UTI Diagnosis

In a groundbreaking development, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) have unveiled a game-changing 3D printed device that promises rapid and cost-effective diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). 

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Harnur Watta
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Photograph of the developed Point-of-Care aptasensor for uropathogen detection

The Developed Point-of-Care Aptasensor for Uropathogen Detection

In a groundbreaking development, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) have unveiled a game-changing 3D printed device that promises rapid and cost-effective diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). 
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Led by Dr Partho Sarathi Gooh Pattader, the team has introduced a Point-Of-Care Testing (POCT) prototype that can identify the type of bacteria causing UTI in just five minutes, compared to conventional methods that can take days.

UTI Diagnosis With 3D Printed Device

Urinary Tract Infection is a prevalent health issue worldwide, particularly affecting females, especially during pregnancy, and is caused by various bacteria. The symptoms, such as burning or pain during urination and frequent urges to urinate, can be distressing. 

If left untreated, UTIs can lead to severe kidney infections. In rural areas, many UTI cases remain undetected due to the lack of proper testing facilities, high testing costs, and lengthy waiting times.

The conventional method of diagnosing specific bacteria in UTIs relies on urine culture, a process that can take at least two days. During this delay, patients have to endure discomfort, and in severe cases, it could even become life-threatening. 

However, the newly developed device from IIT Guwahati has changed the game entirely.

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The cost of manufacturing this innovative device is remarkably low, at just Rs. 608, and each test costs a mere Rs. 8. This affordability makes it an ideal solution for underserved rural areas, where access to medical facilities is limited.

Published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal ACS Applied Bio Materials, the research paper titled "Rapid Diagnosis of UTI-Causing Bacteria Using Aptamer-Gold Nanoparticle Conjugates" elaborates on the device's mechanism. 

The paper was co-authored by Mr Aniruddha Deb, Prof. Tapas K Mandal from IIT Guwahati, and Dr Swapnil Sinha and Ms Mousumi Gogoi from Altanostic Lab Private Limited, IITG Research Park.

Researchers involved in the Research of the 3D printed Rapid UTI detection device
Researchers involved in the Research of the 3D Printed Rapid UTI Detection Device

Dr. Partho Sarathi Gooh Pattader, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Guwahati, emphasized the significance of the research, stated in the press release:

"Early-stage detection of UTI is important to provide timely treatment. The Point-Of-Care Testing (POCT) prototype developed at IIT Guwahati is a photodetector that detects and quantifies a specific UTI-causing bacteria called ‘Klebsiella pneumoniae’ within five minutes from a patient’s urine sample. The detection of ‘Klebsiella pneumoniae’ is important not only because this bacteria is responsible for UTI, but also for pneumonia and for the infection of soft tissue.”

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The device employs gold nanoparticles with specifically-engineered aptamers, which are like 3D puzzle pieces designed to fit only on the surface of a particular bacterium. 

When the aptamer-gold nanoparticles-bacteria come together, the device detects a change in the intensity of light, resulting in rapid identification of the bacteria responsible for the infection.

The research was generously funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.

Dr Swapnil Sinha from Altanostic Lab Private Limited, IIT Guwahati Research Park, and collaborator of this research expressed confidence in the technology's potential for commercialization. 

He said, "We have demonstrated and validated the results obtained from our device with the hospital results following conventional methods. It matches very well. Thus, the technology can be optimised and transferred to a company for commercialization for the benefit of society."

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About IIT Guwahati

The IIT Guwahati has consistently shown excellence in the field of education and research. It has retained its position as the 7th best engineering institution in India and 9th in both 'Overall' and 'Research' Categories in the 'India Rankings 2023' by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). 

The institute has also achieved rank 6 globally in SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2023. 

Moreover, IIT Guwahati is the only academic institution in India to be ranked among the top 100 world universities under 50 years of age, as assessed by London-based Times Higher Education (THE) in 2014 and maintained its superior position since then.

The development of this cost-effective and fast UTI diagnosis device adds another feather to the institute's cap and offers hope for improved healthcare access to millions of people, especially those in remote and underserved regions. 

With its potential for primary healthcare applications, this pioneering technology promises to revolutionise the way UTIs are diagnosed and treated, safeguarding countless lives along the way.


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3D Printed Device Urinary Tract Infection IIT Guwahati
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