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World’s First Low-Cost, High-Throughput, Near-Patient Molecular Diagnostic Test System Dramatically Reduces Wait Times

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 27 Feb 2024
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Image: The Fast MDx Platform offers high-throughput point-of-care preparedness (Photo courtesy of Fast MDx)
Image: The Fast MDx Platform offers high-throughput point-of-care preparedness (Photo courtesy of Fast MDx)

It is important for doctors to rapidly and accurately identify prevalent respiratory pathogens like COVID-19, influenza A and B, RSV-A, and RSV-B for administering prompt, tailored treatment to infected individuals. In a significant advancement, a near-patient test system using automation technology detects pathogens with unrivaled speed and cuts the typical waiting time of 24 to 48 hours to just one to two hours without the need for expensive biosafe laboratories.

Fast MDx Limited (Middlesex, UK) and Festo (London, UK) have jointly designed and developed the world’s first, low-cost, high-throughput, near-patient molecular diagnostic test system that will provide clinicians with earlier, more informed results, allowing each patient to receive a faster, personalized clinical pathway. The Fast MDx system comprises everything necessary for testing, including sample tubes, swabs, and even electronic result transmission to the originating hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office. The system incorporates Fast MDx’s latest, ultra-fast, NGx2 4-Channel qPCR thermal cycler and Reverse Transcription block technology. The Fast MDx platform aspirates the sample through the cap of Fast MDx’s patented Pathtubes and so requires no manual sample handling or preparation steps. The Fast MDx platform employs Festo’s automation technology for precise pipetting and dispensing, streamlining the testing process. This saves considerable time for technicians and minimizes the potential for human error in manual pipetting tasks.

The platform is fully automated, portable, and requires just one technician for operation, in contrast to the usual five needed in a central lab to process up to 1,000 samples in an 8-hour shift. Designed for ease of mobility, the system can traverse standard doorways and elevators, resting on four sturdy, lockable casters. Its near-patient functionality allows it to be deployed in diverse settings such as test centers, hospitals, or pathology labs. Equipped with advanced cybersecurity features, Fast MDx integrates seamlessly with major Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS). Fast MDx will launch in early 2024 and will perform high-throughput, syndromic, respiratory testing for flu A, flu B, RSV A, RSV B, and COVID-19. Future additions to the test menu include healthcare acquired infections (HAI) such as testing for central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), surgical site infections (SSI), and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

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