Microbial infections, especially those acquired during patient hospitalization in hospitals and intensive care units, constitute a major issue puzzling healthcare systems, stemmed by their critical economic and social implications. Currently, the diagnosis of bacterial infections, even those threatening the life of patients, is based on time consuming protocols that give results in two to three days, thus delaying the prescription of the most appropriate treatment. In the meanwhile, wide-spectrum antibiotics are used with serious consequences for the world public health: the development of antibiotic resistant pathogens. For these reasons, the international research community is in search of more sensitive diagnostic methods which will allow rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases and will restrict the use of antibiotics only in the cases where they are necessary.
The DIAMOND project aims at facing the aforementioned challenges and developing a prototype, fully automated, portable diagnostic system, for the rapid, efficient and low cost detection of infectious diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria, through detection of their DNA. We propose the development of a lab-on-a-chip, where the bacteria DNA amplification will be performed rapidly and efficiently, as well as the detection of amplified DNA on a Field Effect Transistor biosensor. The proposed lab-on-a-chip will be low cost, as it will be fabricated on a printed circuit board substrate using mass production amenable methods, exploiting the well-established PCB industry. The Lab-on-PCB will be used in a portable control instrument that will allow automated i) sample handling, ii) temperature control for biological reactions, iii) electronic read-out of the biosensor, and iv) data recording and processing. The instrument will be accompanied by a novel web application for storage and smart representation of data originating from such diagnostic systems. The capability of data storage for a long period, to monitor disease spread in space and in time, will be offered.