The EU-funded POCKET project is developing a low-cost urine test that can quickly detect tuberculosis (TB), a preventable disease that kills nearly 2 million people every year.
Started in November 2013, the initiative already started and develops a low-cost urine test that will make TB detection accessible to all. Right now, researchers working on POCKET are trying to integrate new technologies to the product. These include nanophotonics (which is about how light interacts with substances at the nanometre scale) and novel selective antibodies (proteins used by the body’s immune system to identify and neutralise bacteria and viruses). From this work, the research team will develop a tool that is able to detect TB antibodies through urine. The POCKET test will feature a sensor in a silicon nitride chip, able to issue a low-cost readout on whether TB antigens in urine have been detected.
The researchers strongly believe that the test will cost between EUR 5 and 10 per end-user, and will offer an accuracy rate of over 80 %.