Quicker UTI tests, thanks to BITS research

  • Rozelle Laha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 11, 2016 17:59 IST
Dr Suman Kapur, senior professor, department of biological sciences, BITS Pilani. (HT photo)

RightBiotic, an innovation by BITS Hyderabad research fellows Shivani Gupta and Anuradha Pal under the mentorship of Dr Suman Kapur, senior professor, department of biological sciences, BITS Pilani, can now enable faster and better treatment of urinary tract infection (UTI). It reduces testing time of urine culture from 72 hours to four hours, thus ensuring “right antibiotic” administration from the very beginning of the treatment.

“This semi-automated test will help a doctor assess whether the disease is of bacterial origin in a short span of time compared to the current testing time. It also helps the doctor administer the appropriate antibiotic in case of an infection,” says Shivani Gupta.

It takes about 48 to 72 hours through urine culture to determine the nature of the infection and the kind of antibiotics to be administered. With the new test there will be no extra costs added even though the time taken to get a urine culture will be slashed.

Gupta and Pal, who won the i3 Platinum Award for Best Innovator at the CII 7th India Innovation Initiative (i3) Awards 2015, have been running a biomedical devices startup at BITS Hyderabad since June 2014 called xBITS Pvt Ltd. They are currently in the process of approaching venture capitalists for funding.

The startup founded by Dr Suman Kapur in 2014, has already got a grant of Rs 45 lakh from the Department of Biotechnology, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, to validate this technology at a larger scale across 20 different centres in India. “Now, we have the industrial design ready which will be placed at 20 different centres for wider validation,” Gupta says.

A combo image of BITS Hyderabad research fellows Shivani Gupta (L) and Anuradha Pal. (HT photo)

The idea was conceived in 2010. It started as a research grant from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to Dr Kapur, who proposed the idea to DRDO. “The project was a challenging task as it disrupts century old practices, but we are happy that the medical fraternity has been very supportive in seeing the value that it brings to clinical decision-making especially in the light of growing anti-microbial resistance in bacterial pathogens,” says Dr Kapur.

Read more: Alarming! The growing resistance to antibiotics

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