BioDetection Instruments Awarded National Institutes of Health Grant

Company is developing product to rapidly detect and prevent parasites from infiltrating public water supplies.

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The proposed technology will allow for near real-time monitoring of viable Cryptosporidium oocysts in water as it leaves a water treatment facility, but before it is delivered to the public.

Fayetteville, Ark. (PRWEB) June 05, 2014

Biodetection Instruments™ has been awarded a National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) Phase I grant to develop an automated cartridge assay for rapid detection of viable Cryptosporidium oocysts, or spores, in water. Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite and is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States. While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common method of transmission. Under the supervision of Dr. Xiaoli Su, Research and Development Director, the proposed technology will allow for near real-time monitoring of viable Cryptosporidium oocysts in water as it leaves a water treatment facility, but before it is delivered to the public.

Awarded June 1, 2014, the $150,000 grant supports BioDetection Instruments in the development of a cartridge that will detect viable Cryptosporidium oocysts at a sensitivity level required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for drinking water monitoring. Cryptosporidium oocysts are tolerant to chlorine disinfection and although current EPA methods can detect the presence of oocysts, they cannot determine whether the spores are alive or infectious; BioDetection Instruments’ innovative cartridge will provide quantitative results for living oocysts promptly, and will offer a much faster, less complex alternative to current testing.

Parasitic protozoa are responsible for 21% of all waterborne illnesses. Cryptosporidium, commonly referred to as “Crypto,” causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Crypto is found in every region of the U.S. and throughout the world. Although the significance to public health of dead Crypto oocysts is minimal, when the oocysts are infective the risk to public health can be enormous.

The grant will allow BioDetection Instruments to address an unmet need in the market for rapid detection of viable Cryptosporidium in water. While research associated with this grant focuses on detection of viable Cryptosporidium only, the company is also actively working on the detection of other viable waterborne disease-causing protozoan parasites, and its technology has the potential for major, positive global impact.

Biodetection Instruments’ development work has benefited from support by various economic development incentive programs from the State of Arkansas. These include financing and tax credits from the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, that are targeted to help create high paying technology jobs in Arkansas.

BioDetection Instruments, Inc. is developing innovative new technologies for the rapid detection of pathogens. BioDetection Instruments’ products can improve the safety and quality of the world’s food and water supply. BioDetection Instruments™ is a VIC Technology Venture Development™ portfolio company.