CHENNAI: Fresh after being declared as a University of Potential Excellence by the University Grants Commission (UGC), Anna University has bagged Rs 75 crores to set up India’s first ‘Bactiobiogram’.
This high-end equipment would identify the agents causing typhoid, diarrhoea, urinary tract infection and recommend which antibiotic could be used. For the common man, it would cost only Rs 10, and would be done in a few hours.
This automated process is aimed at cutting over-the-counter sale of antibiotics, bio-medical waste and risks faced in handling the chemicals manually.
Speaking to Express on the sidelines of an event at Anna University here on Monday, the UGC vice-chairman H Devaraj said, “With the allocated funds, the university would collaborate with industries to design a research product (bactiobiogram) which would benefit the masses.”
The microwave oven-sized device has three slots and an electronic display in front.
According to Prof K Sankaran, who heads the design team, the lab assistants or paramedical staff need to place the sample of the biological fluid (blood, urine, saliva, eye and ear discharge) in the allotted slot.
A robotic needle arm sucks it up, mixes it with a nutrient medium where the bacteria would grow and inject it into the third slot where a disposable microplate is placed. This plate has 96 wells filled with various antibiotics combinations.
Prof S Muttan said, “After 6-8 hours, bacterial growth can be observed in the wells which contain antibiotics which might not work on that particular patient. Through optical signals, the antibiotics which might work can be differentiated.”
This optical signal will be captured by a camera at the top of the equipment.
The output, he added, can be fed into mobile phones, laptops or tablets.
Following this, the needle also collects the bacterial samples and injects it into a tray placed below the microplate.
The professors say this contains specific reagents which help identify the nature of the disease-causing agent which will be displayed on the front screen.
“While the conventional method involving expensive equipment takes three to four days for the test reports costing about Rs 600 to Rs 1,000, this process would bring down the cost to Rs 10 and save time,” Prof Sankaran said.
Devaraj said, “This equipment will be declared as the model for other Indian universities.”
“On completion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would inaugurate it as a part of the Make In India campaign,” he added.
Meanwhile, Anna University has become the third university in the State to get UPE status after University of Madras and Madurai Kamaraj University.
This decision was made after seven shortlisted universities across the country made their final presentations last week.
Anna University would now join 15 other varsities in the state to get this status where a funding of Rs 75 crores would be made available next April.
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