Accuplex has licenced a novel diagnostic application for detection of fungal siderophores, the first immunodiagnostic application for siderophore detection. The technology was developed by Professor Sean Doyle, Maynooth University, Ireland using both ELISA and lateral flow-based platforms. The addition of this first in class immunodiagnostic test adds to the growing range of siderophore tests supplied by Accuplex and is the second siderophore test to be licenced from Maynooth University.
Siderophores are unique biomolecules released by most bacteria and fungi when iron availability becomes limiting. Iron is an essential element required by micro-organisms, and in the body where iron levels are extremely low siderophores become an essential means of iron acquisition. They are secreted into the surrounding environment where they bind ferric iron, which is then taken back up into the microbe and used for growth and survival. Hence siderophores offer unique targets for both diagnostic application as well as novel and effective antimicrobials and iron chelators to treat iron overload.
Aspergillosis is an infection caused by Aspergillus, a common mold (a type of fungus) that lives indoors and outdoors. Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus, with high rates of mortality. In the last 24 months cases of fungal infection increased significantly as secondary infections in patients already infected with the virus causing COVID-19, and was the underlying cause of death in many.
Diagnosis of Aspergillosis is particularly difficult with a growing recognition for the provision of new and better tests. In 2021, the WHO issued its “Essential Diagnostics” list which included tests for detection of Aspergillus. The licenced technology developed by Professor Doyle’s lab addresses this unmet need . The test detects the siderophore (TAFC) released by Aspergillus, using urine as the principal sample. This offers significant advantage by enabling the test to be run without the need for invasive sampling or complex and expensive technology, with potential to generate results patient side in less than 15 minutes.
In collaboration with Professor Doyle, Accuplex aims to target both mycology labs where routine testing is performed as well as the point-of care market with a “pregnancy test” test device that can be used at home in matter of minutes with no technical expertise required. Patients with organ transplant, those undergoing cancer treatment or with compromised lung function such as COPD are at high risk of developing Aspergillosis. A rapid home use test will enable routine screening aid for prompt detection.