Scientists at the University of Bath have developed a test that utilises a smartphone camera to accurately detect UTIs in just 25 minutes. It involves passing a urine sample over a micro-capillary strip containing an antibody that identifies the presence of E.coli – a harmful bacteria that live in the intestines and can cause infection if it enters the urinary tract.
If present, the antibodies bind the bacteria and prevent it from passing through the strip. An enzyme is added which changes the colour of the sample (this part is what’s captured on camera) and the concentration of E.coli is then assessed via smartphone.
“The test is small and portable – so it has major potential for use in primary care settings and in developing countries,” Dr Nuno Reis, the study’s lead researcher and member of the University of Bath’s Department of Chemical Engineering told The Independent.
“Currently, bacterial infections in UTIs are confirmed via microbiological testing of a urine sample. That is accurate, but time-consuming, taking several days.”
Not only is this test faster, but it’s also cheaper too. Although clinical trials are still required to refine the new technology.
Think you’re coming down with a UTI? Here's how to prevent it next time.