The COBIOPHAD (Compact Biophotonic Platform for Drug Allergy Diagnosis) Project, an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership, has led to the development of a faster, low-cost allergy detector device that project coordinators aim to have available in hospitals as soon as in the next five years.
Upwards of 5.4 million Americans exhibit hypersensitivity to β-lactam antibiotics. This class of broad-spectrum antibiotic, which includes penicillin, its derivatives (e.g., amoxicillin), and cephalosporins, is among the most widely prescribed to treat bacterial infections. Of those that suffer from hypersensitivity to these antibiotics, up to 10% report an allergy. Allergic reactions typically include trouble breathing, coughing, and tissue swelling. However, in extreme cases, allergic reactions to β-lactam antibiotics can even lead to anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis produces between 500 and 1,000 deaths annually in the United States, and prevailing wisdom suggests that as many as half are caused by drugs. Beyond these direct effects, the fear of a severe allergic reaction can commonly dissuade patients from accepting medication that could be effective and valuable in treating their conditions.
The existing technology for detecting allergies via an in vitro diagnostic requires an average time-to-diagnosis of more than three hours and costs more than $30. By contrast, the COBIOPHAD scanning device leverages photonics technology to detect allergies 100 times more efficiently, within approximately 30 minutes, and at less than 10% of the current cost.
The COBIOPHAD detector system evaluates patient plasma samples as they are run across a cartridge. The cartridge contains β-lactam reagents, which are tuned to recognize a specific Immunoglobulin E (IgE), as well as a secondary tracer antibody. In the case of a positive response, the IgE antibody will react with the antibiotic, and a laser will read and definitively reveal that reaction.
COBIOPHAD attributes the development of this device to the integration of advancements made in many of its component technologies, such as photonics, advanced materials, optics, bio-analytical tools, and cloud-based data networking. Organizationally, the COBIOPHAD project consists of 10 partner institutions from across Europe and is funded by Horizon 2020, the largest research and innovation program ever launched by the European Union (EU). COBIOPHAD received a grant from the EU worth more than $4 million earlier in 2016 to deliver on their goal of releasing their next-generation allergy detection device.
Press release: Rapid allergy detector to beat penicillin deaths…
More information: COBIOPHAD…