A key challenge in the development of a rapid STI diagnostic test is to combine the accuracy and sensitivity of DNA detection with novel sensor technologies. The eSTI2 Consortium will provide microbiological and pathogen genomics capacity and expertise to translate our ongoing research on STI diagnostics using microarray-defined and clinically tested combinations of oligonucleotide reporters and subsequently validate these on industry-developed biosensor and sample processing devices.
Working closely with the micro-engineering and clinical evaluation programmes in the Consortium, the work will deliver prototype point-of-care (PoC) or self-testing diagnostic devices for multiple STI pathogens. The feasibility and utility of genotypic detection of antibiotic resistance for gonorrhoea using such devices will also be investigated.
Research into the polymicrobial influences on STI syndromes such as urethritis, prostatitis and pelvic inflammatory disease using metagenomic analysis and next generation sequencing will define genital microbiota contributions to the pathogenesis of disease and extend the diagnostic coverage for PoC devices. This research will be achieved in close collaboration with commercial and academic partners.