An extended family of spectral sensors from ams OSRAM enables quantitative, digitized point-of-care diagnostics for fluorescence and colorimetric based assays.
At the beginning of 2020, diagnostic testing was typically done using samples collected by professional experts who then sent the samples to be analyzed in laboratories using large, expensive specialized equipment. The professionally analyzed results took days or sometimes even weeks to make it back to you. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the world realized that diagnostic testing needed to change. Driven by many innovative organizations – including ams OSRAM and its customers and partners – now reliable diagnostics can often be performed for a wide range of factors, by anyone, anywhere, virtually immediately. Put your hand up if you have personally used a COVID-19 lateral flow test (LFT) recently. Such technologies are now available to buy ‘over the counter’ for personal use in many countries.
Over the past 24 months, ams OSRAM has driven a huge amount of research, development and testing to meet medical device standards and market delivery in a remarkably short period of time. The word ‘reliability’ is critical here: people need to be able to rely on the test results to determine the differing actions they need to take in response to the results. Test kits need to differentiate between different respiratory conditions like COVID-19 and types of Influenza or distinguish between bacterial or viral infections. This is where the ams OSRAM’s family of spectral sensors make a difference. The specialized optical technology means that a spectral readout compensates for typical LFT limitations. First, sensitivity is improved compared to a normal visual readout (especially for fluorescence assays). Second, laboratory benchtop accuracy can now be delivered at a handheld/disposable form factor at the point of care – and at a far lower cost. And third, a quantitative and objective result can be provided in as little as 15 minutes digitally and uploaded via a mobile device to medical-certified cloud services.
In fact, we posed this question to our customers and partners in the diagnostics field: what would you do differently if the necessary technology was hundreds of times cheaper and available for use at the point of care? You can read about the answers we received from companies like Midge Medical, Eldim, and BiologyWorks. Each company used ams OSRAM sensor technology, based on the AS7341L spectral sensor, for their industry-changing devices that provide COVID-19 testing and much more. The AS7341L currently offers the highest spectral accuracy and sensitivity for diagnostic color measurement available on the market.
Next-generation remote diagnostics
We need a new way to conduct diagnostics for all kinds of health and wellness conditions – from measuring iron levels to contagious infection control. Let´s consider the power of point-of-care diagnostics coupled with telemedicine. In this scenario, the patient would first contact a health advisor remotely by telephone, video or app. Based on this telemedicine consultation, an appropriate test kit can be immediately dispatched for home use. After reading the instructions, the patient can appropriately use the test. A biochemical reaction between, for example, the antibodies and the molecules to be detected leads to a color change in the test strip. A spectral sensor in combination with a light emitter can detect the colors or fluorescence behavior which might be too faint for the normal view of the human eye.
The sensor is connected to a Bluetooth-enabled microcontroller from which the values can be read and transmitted to a smartphone and a medical-certified cloud environment. The results are then virtually immediately available in electronic form to the medical professional and the patient. Based on these results, the correct diagnostics can be read, and the appropriate action can be taken.
To be clear: it's not just about viruses. Rapid, high-precision tests are also required for e.g. monitoring ovulation, vitamin levels or various diseases. Tests for vitamin levels are particularly important for people who regularly take medication. Tests, that can be carried out easily at home, would represent real progress in identifying illnesses, which might not merit a visit to a doctor.
A new member of the family: the AS7343L 13-channel spectral sensor
Our new AS7343L 13-channel spectral sensor for next-generation point-of-care diagnostic devices offers improved spectral capabilities allowing detection of colorimetric and fluorescence dyes.
The benefits include more channels for greater flexibility in device configuration. We invite discussions with new customers and partners to determine how to optimize this advance for their forthcoming designs to maximize reliability of results through continuous improvements in sensitivity and optical performance.
While the previous generation (AS7341L 10-channel spectral sensor) remains the best choice to meet important criteria for specific applications, with additional spectral channels in the 400nm-1000nm range the AS7343L enables customer devices to examine more indicators simultaneously. Where filter definition is an important consideration, it also offers 12 spectral filters and one general purpose broadband channel.
This is also the company's first product to combine multi-channel color analysis with XYZ sensor technology to measure the color and intensity of light as seen by the human eye. When integrated into spectrometers, the AS7343L gives added productivity, flexibility and functionality to users in spectral analysis. This means point-of-care tests can now benefit from better spectral resolution and spectral range.
ams OSRAM works in partnership with companies to ensure that they get the best out of our technologies – in the right combination – for their designs. Work with us to learn more about how to use our world-changing spectral sensors to get the best out of your point-of-care applications.