Biosensor detects sexually transmitted disease in a jiffy

May 11th, 2009 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 11 (IANS) A new biosensor can promptly detect the presence of Candida albicans yeast, usually found in a person infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
The Candida samples, obtained from blood, serum or vaginal secretions, are placed directly on the biosensor, where antigens and antibodies interact to change the electric current of the device.

Candida albicans fungus exists naturally in the skin, mouth, the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, and the respiratory and genitourinary systems.

This yeast can cause anything from simple mycosis of the skin to complicated cases of candidiasis. It is much more commonly found in patients suffering from immunodeficiency, tumours, diabetes and lymphomas, among other diseases.

“Thanks to the extraordinary properties of the carbon nanotubes, the fungus detection process is direct, fast, and does not require the use of any marker,” said senior study author Raquel A. Villamizar of Spain’s Universidad Rovira i Virgili.

Conventional diagnosis of Candida was a highly time consuming process, carried out using microbial cultures, serological tests, PCR molecular biology techniques (polymerase chain reactions used to amplify DNA), or immunoassays such as ELISA (Enzyme Linked Inmunoabsorbent Assay).

These techniques sometimes give rise to false positives and negatives. ELISA also requires the use of markers (compounds that must be added to detect the presence of yeast by fluorescence and other techniques), said a Plataforma SINC release.

These findings were published recently in Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

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