Innovative and cost-effective MRSA rapid test

Multi-resistant pathogens, for example MRSA (multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), can spread rapidly and become a serious health hazard in already weakened individuals, for example in clinics and nursing homes. A research team at Fraunhofer EMFT has joined forces with Asklepios Kliniken GmbH and the middle-sized company KETEK GmbH to develop a low-cost rapid MRSA test that could be used in a potential target application as a routine initial examination in hospitals. 

MRSA bacteria under the microscope
© Fraunhofer EMFT
MRSA bacteria under the microscope

Since the methods available to date for detecting MRSA are either very time-consuming (microbiological cultural detection) or very cost-intensive (molecular biological or antibody-based detection), most countries do not currently perform general initial screening of all patients on admission to hospitals. 

The benefit of such screening is unquestionable: Early detection of MRSA infection or colonization and appropriate treatment could significantly reduce the risk of transmission of the pathogens to other patients. The rapid test requires only a nasal sample from the patient. Whether MRSA is present in the sample can be detected in a short time using fluorescent indicators with a highly sensitive detection system.

Measuring device for MRSA rapid test
© Fraunhofer EMFT/ Bernd Müller
Measuring device for MRSA rapid test

The innovative rapid test for the detection of resistant bacteria was set up as a complete system for on-site analysis on a laboratory scale. Within the framework of a study, the method was tested in a hospital environment and continuously adapted to real conditions. The project was funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy as part of the "Microsystems Technology Bavaria" program under the funding code MST-1308-001/BAY 189/001.



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