Blood test device can be life-saver
A firm has developed a device which it says could prevent thousands of people dying from septicaemia.
Scientists and engineers at Magna Parva Diagnostics are in the early stages of creating a tool to diagnose septicaemia – blood poisoning – within 10 minutes.
Septicaemia claims more than 37,000 lives in the UK every year and is frequently mistaken for flu and other conditions.
The company is to showcase its invention at Future Health Mission, in Boston, America, where it is hoping to secure investment which will help it develop the product more quickly.
It is one of 20 health technology businesses selected to attend a trade mission in Boston organised by the Technology Strategy Board, UK Trade and Investment, The Long Run Venture and the Co-Sponsorship Agency.
Devaki Bhatta, scientific director of the company, said it was a real achievement to be selected for the trade mission because the company was only set up six months ago.
Magna Parva Diagnostics is a spin-off of engineering firm Magna Parva, which supplies the defence industry and space missions.
Ms Bhatta, who joined the Bardon firm six months ago to oversee the diagnostic division, said: "We are taking the part of the business that already exists – space and defence – and developing it.
"We believe we have a competitive edge.
"There are lots and lots of diagnostic companies but we have learnt a lot in space and defence and we are experienced at taking clever equipment, minimising it and making it robust.
"Doctors and nurses don't want a fancy bit of lab equipment that takes requires skill to operate, they want to be able to take a blood sample, add it to a cartridge and shove it in a box.
Magna Parva Diagnostics has four employees. Ms Bhatta, who was due to arrive in Boston today, said numbers would grow quickly if it secured the investment needed to develop the product.
Ms Bhatta said: "We want to be able to accelerate the product development.
"If we did that without investment, it would take two to three years.
"Obviously then we could expand the team."
If septicaemia is recognised early it can be treated with antibiotics.
Ms Bhatta said: "The problem is there is no simple test – diagnosis is based on clinical opinions."