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Laser-patterned paper-based sensors for rapid point-of-care detection and antibiotic-resistance testing of bacterial infections

Abstract: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been identified by the World Health Organisation as a global threat that currently claims at least 25,000 deaths each year in Europe and 700,000 globally; the number is projected to reach 10 million per year between 2015 and 2050. Therefore, there is an urgent need for low-cost but reliable point-of-care diagnostics for early screening of infections especially in developing countries lacking in basic infrastructure and trained personnel. This work is aimed at developing such a device, a paper-based microfluidic device for infection testing by an unskilled user in a low resource setting. Here, we present our work relating to the use of our laser-patterned paper-based devices for detection and susceptibility testing of Escherichia coli, via a simple visually observable colour change. The results indicate the suitability of our integrated paper devices for timely identification of bacterial infections at the point-of-care and their usefulness in providing a hugely beneficial pathway for accurate antibiotic prescribing and thus a novel route to tackling the global challenge of AMR.

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