Groundbreaking STI test can detect chlamydia in 30 minutes

Print 19 February 2016
The Telegrah / Lifestyle

A new test can detect chlamydia in half an hour

A new test can detect chlamydia in half an hour CREDIT: ALAMY

A new device promises to detect the sexually transmitted infection (STI) chlamydia within half an hour.

The Atlas io system was created by the University of Bath's spin-off biotech company Atlas Genetics in 2005. It has now won approval from the EU to be sold.

The development means that patients can be tested and treated for the disease within a single clinic visit.

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in the UK -in 2013, more than 200,000 people in England tested positive for it.

If left untreated it can lead to long-term health problems such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can even trigger reactive arthritis.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 499 million new STIs occur each year, but experts claim this new tool could help win the fight against the spread of such diseases.

A screenshot of the tool A screenshot of the tool CREDIT: ATLAS GENETICS

Professor Chris Frost, the head of Bath University’s chemistry department - and whose research was used to help create the test - explained: “To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, especially sexually transmitted infections, it’s very important to get a fast, easy diagnosis that can be given at the first appointment with a patient, allowing treatment to begin quickly before the patient leaves.”

The io system works by using DNA probes to accurately detect for infectious diseases speedily.

It's essentially a speeded-up version of the way samples are currently tested through labs, which can typically take three to 10 days.

John Clarkson, CEO of Atlas Genetics, said: “STIs are on the rise and the faster a diagnosis can be made, the faster treatment can be given, not only benefiting the patient but also saving time and money. We believe that our io platform will play a key role in the future of STI diagnosis.”

The chlamydia test is the first in a series to be launched on the platform, including screening for gonorrhoea, trichomonas vaginalis and other STIs. It will operate across both the European and US markets.

While Atlas is initially focusing on sexual health, the io platform can be applied to a wide range of infectious diseases.

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