HAIs (health care-associated infections), like dangerous and increasingly antibiotic resistant MRSA/SA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections, are increasingly being cited as a major concern among hospital staff and administrators. The growing alarm is due in part to how these bacteria can colonize a patient or surface in a persistent fashion and then spread, causing serious infections in otherwise relatively minor wounds or inside a patient’s body, where the already problematic infection is even more difficult to treat.
Mortality figures are already quite alarming, with the CDC’s rough estimates showing around two million Americans infected per year by some kind of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, leading directly to somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty three thousand fatalities and almost one hundred thousand associated fatalities. The growing use and abuse of antibiotics when they are not needed is accelerating the evolution of bacteria and there may now be a cascade failure of the existing antibiotic treatment paradigm, making early, accurate detection of infections like MRSA/SA more important than ever before.
With early detection also being a key factor for survival rates, the MRSA/SA detection system currently being developed by Zenosense, via a partnership with leading Spanish sensor manufacturer Sgenia Group’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Zenon Biosystem, could prove to be a real life saver. For ZENO, the device will no doubt become a serious money maker as well, with health care facilities around the globe invariably turning to the company’s technology in order to create a necessary security envelope, which will ultimately function very much like existing smoke detection systems.
Zenosense’s MRSA/SA detection device, when commercialized, will be formatted as both a stationary room-based detector and a battery-operated wearable, designed to be either carried by staff, or by specific patients. The device continuously monitors for carefully targeted VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and sounds an alarm buzzer upon a successful detection, long before an infected patient begins to demonstrate signs of an infection. The device uses a sophisticated, proprietary software platform and relatively cheap off-the-shelf hardware sensors configured as a virtual multi-sensor array. This virtual array design allows a single-chip architecture to continuously run multiple scans while simultaneously discriminating against background VOCs beyond the target scope, making the device cheap, yet highly accurate.
Such a device would be cost-effective enough to roll out across the country and/or globally in a variety of healthcare, assisted living and eventually even home settings, bringing life-saving early infection detection to the masses. With the recent move by the Obama Administration to seek nearly double last year’s federal spending on addressing antibiotic-resistant bacteria’s rise, as set forth in the current budget for fiscal 2016, there will be plenty of money floating around out of the approximately $1.2 billion being sought, for funding development and commercial roll out of such devices as the one Zenosense is readying.
With over half the money from the 2016 National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic Resistance budget going to the NIH, CDC and VA, to cover a range of antibiotic-resistant bacteria issues, ZENO is in a prime position to capitalize on the logistically inefficient current modality of clinical laboratory testing for MRSA/SA presence. With a variety of costly/ slow and cumbersome lab testing being the currently accepted standard, a device like the one ZENO is developing, which can simply sniff the air for VOCs, has the potential to reshape the face of the MRSA/SA response curve dramatically.
The emergence of once-weekly intravenous doses of dalvance and oritavancin as an alternative to daily vancomycin treatment means that MRSA/SA, if detected early, could start to be cleaned up more readily, reducing the overall incident rate in the U.S. significantly. Unfortunately the cost of such treatments is still rather steep, putting even more pressure on the industry to find ways to detect the infection earlier, when it can be treated more effectively and quickly, thus reducing the overall cost of a given treatment schedule.
One can easily see the ZENO early detection device playing a key role in bringing about a new paradigm for handling MRSA/SA across hospitals in the U.S., and the same benefits of this low-cost, highly effective platform technology, means that institutions like schools and universities, as well as health clubs and sports franchise locker rooms could also benefit.
For more information, visit www.zenosense.net
Let us hear your thoughts: Zenosense, Inc. Message Board