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NanoLogix test helps with TB detection

Monday, November 7, 2011

Staff report


NanoLogix, the Valley-based biotechnology company, says a third party has successfully detected a deadly disease in “revolutionary time” by using the company’s expedited petri-dish test.

NanoLogix CEO Bret Barnhizer told The Vindicator the third party has identified live Mycobacterium tuberculosis, also known as TB, in four days using NanoLogix’s BioNanoPore technology.

“We hadn’t focused on TB, but a lab in Texas approached us,” Barnhizer said. “We sent it off to them, and the results of their test were astounding.”

BioNanoPore puts microorganisms on a membrane that doesn’t allow fluid to pass through the cells. The nutrient solution sandwiches the membrane, and the membrane grows.

The membrane is put on a staining solution that shows growth before it can be seen in a standard petri dish.

Physicians typically wait 21 days to determine if a patient, who potentially has TB, should be put on antibiotics.

The third-party organization will remain anonymous until its results are officially published in a scientific journal.

An estimated 1.7 million people died from TB in 2009, according to statistics from the World Health Organization. The highest number of deaths were in Africa.

One-third of the world’s population is currently infected with TB.

Left untreated, each person with active TB disease will infect 10 to 15 people annually, according to the WHO.

People infected with TB won’t necessarily become sick. The immune system “walls off” the TB, and the disease can lie dormant for years.

When a person’s immune system is weakened, it increases his or her chances of getting sick.

Over the years, misdiagnosis and mismanagement of TB have led to antibiotic-resistant strains, which leads to a growing number of untreatable cases, Barnhizer said.

“When someone tests positive for TB, in many, many cases, [doctors] will start them on an antibiotic cocktail,” he said. “If you can get a four-day readout on the bacteria, you can start doing tests after you do the antibiotic usage.”

Barnhizer says independent tests should be completed by the end of the month, and data will then be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for potential approval.

It’s the second major breakthrough in four months for the 2-decade-old company. Previously, The American Journal of Perinatology published a peer-review paper from the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at University of Texas Health Science Center.

The paper found that NanoLogix’s petri-dish test could detect Group B Streptococcus, or Strep B, in four to six hours, instead of the typical 24 to 36.