Bob Krijnen
Dr. Nuno Reis
University of Bath
Scientists at the University of Bath (UK) have developed a test to diagnose a urinary tract infection within 25 minutes, using a smartphone camera. This technology identifies the presence of E. coli bacteria in the urine.
E. coli is responsible for approximately 80% of bacterial urinary tract infections. Scientists say the new test is faster and cheaper than existing lab-based options. Dr. Nuno Reis, from the Chemical Engineering department of the University, led the development of the test. "The test is small and portable and therefore has great potential for use in primary care setting (GP’s)”.
The current tests to detect a urinary tract infection is accurate, but time-consuming and it often takes several days for the results to arrive. The new smartphone camera test is simple and fast: a urine sample is passed over a ribbed plastic micro-capillary strip that contains an antibody that can recognize E. coli bacterial cells. If E. coli is present, the antibodies will bind to it and prevent it from passing through the portion of the plastic strip. An enzyme is then added to cause a color change that can be picked up by a smartphone camera. The concentration of E. coli in the sample is measured by analyzing an image taken by the camera. The team will start refining the test to enable the detection of other bacteria and their concentrations.
Dr. Nuno Reis: ”This new test can quickly give a result to support the prescription of antibiotics and prevent excessive use of it".

Published in "Elsevier Biosensors and Bioelectronics".
Neither did we.