Zurich Instruments included in new £11 million UK health project

Mobile health technologies to rapidly test and track infectious diseases

Zurich Instruments has been announced as one of the international partners in a major new Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) led by UCL (University College London). The new £11 million IRC, funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (total investment £16 million), will develop mobile health technologies that allow doctors to diagnose and track diseases much earlier than ever before.

Sadik Hafizovic, CEO of Zurich Instruments, commented that “Zurich Instruments is proud to be one of the international partners. We are looking forward to contributing to this major project as the technology leader in impedance spectroscopy and high-performance demodulators, helping to push the frontiers of healthcare technologies by enabling researchers worldwide to develop their methods and analysis faster and more reliably”.

The IRC brings together scientists, engineers and clinicians from UCL, Imperial College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Newcastle University, UK Healthcare organisations and industry partners – including OJ-Bio, Microsoft, Cambridge Life Sciences, Mologic, O2 Health, Zurich Instruments, XFAB and Cepheid.

The IRC will pioneer low cost, easy to use mobile phone-connected diagnostic tests based on advances in nanotechnology for use in a variety of healthcare environments worldwide. The mobile tests aim to identify diseases with high sensitivity and specificity and give results within minutes from just a pin-prick of blood or a simple swab. Rapidly transmitting results into secure healthcare systems will alert doctors to potentially serious outbreaks with geographically linked information.

The IRC will also track reported symptoms of infection by searching millions of internet sources including media reports, search engine queries (e.g. Google Trends and Bing) and social networking sites (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) to identify outbreaks even before people attend clinics or from parts of the world that lack the resources for traditional public health surveillance.

The new centre will bring critical mass and multidisciplinary expertise in biomarker discovery (“pathogen-specific fingerprints”) which require minimal sample processing steps, nano-enabled sensors, temperature-stable biomimetic capture coatings, nanoparticles, microelectronics, microfluidics, wireless networks, data mining, data security and health economics. Zurich Instruments will contribute to the IRC with its dedicated know-how in digital dynamic signal processing which is at the heart of modern portable devices.

Zurich Instruments makes lock-in amplifiers, phase-locked loops, and impedance spectroscopes that have revolutionized instrumentation in the high-frequency (HF) and ultra-high-frequency (UHF) ranges by combining frequency-domain tools and time-domain tools within each product. This reduces the complexity of laboratory setups, removes sources of problems and provides new measurement approaches that support the progress of research.

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