Ever experienced pain in lower abdomen and a burning sensation when you have to relieve yourself? Those are the symptoms of urinary tract infection, which affects 1 in every 3 women under the age of 24. With 150 million global cases, urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second largest infection in the world. If it’s diagnosed quickly, and treated fast enough, the number of infected people might go down.
Sachin Dubey and his company, Module Innovation is trying to do precisely that. Talking about his platform technology based strips, U-Sense, Dubey says, “U-Sense can detect the presence of bacteria in 30 minutes by a simple blue to red colour change. It can accurately determine which bacteria is actually the cause of the infection. Conventional methods like culture takes two-three days to detect microbial contamination.”
Dubey, who holds a B Tech-M Tech in Nanotechnology from Centre for Converging Technologies, University of Rajasthan, has been shortlisted for The Design: Impact Awards (DIA) initiated by Titan, for this diagnostic test. He is one of the 18 finalists selected across the country.
When asked how did he think of U-Sense, Dubey says, “Two incidents were responsible for shaping this concept. I was working with National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) on a technology that detected urinary tract infection bacteria. At the same time, my sister-in-law, who was pregnant, got UTI. She was in Jaipur then. That was the time we realised that the detection of UTI bacteria takes two days. In spite of the advancement, the culture test takes long. So I wondered if we could develop something that could get us rapid results and we could start the treatment quickly. The preliminary know-how of the technology was developed at NCL. The development was done at Module Innovations, a health startup, which I co-founded.”
At present, U-Sense strip is undergoing validation study at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital. The Module Innovations is also in the process of sending an MoU to Sassoon Hospital. The health startup is also doing validation study in primary health care centres in Rajasthan. “We are trying to identify those pockets where there is lack of hygiene and UTI is most prevalent. We are testing the diagnostic strip on 100 patients from different segments of society,” says Dubey, adding, “Module Innovations envisions to bring diagnostics in the reach and pocket of every individual.”
When asked about manufacturing options, he says, “There are two options before us. One is to manufacture it on our own and therefore we are looking for manufacturing sites in India and China. Another option is to tie-up with other pharma companies. The selling price of U-Sense should be between Rs 150-170. This is a single use test.” Dubey is also working on diagnostic tests that will do early screenings for cervical cancer, HIV, TB and Malaria.