UAB recently announced that researchers at the university will partner with a medical device start-up company and the UAB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to develop the first quick test for bacterial meningitis. Over the past two decades, Professor Scott Barnum, PhD, has been researching meningitis, and his team found that the identification of different protein levels could be used to determine if patients have a serious bacterial meningitis infection or aseptic meningitis. His team patented this discovery so they could create a diagnostic test to rapidly distinguish between the types of meningitis.
According to Barnum, current meningitis tests can be expensive, inaccurate, and difficult to obtain in developing countries. Through the partnership with Kypha, Inc., a start-up that specializes in diagnostic testing products, Barnum could make the meningitis test a reality. Barnum hopes to create a test that could inexpensively and quickly differentiate between viral and bacterial meningitis, which would be a crucial tool for emergency room physicians who must rapidly diagnose and treat diseases such as meningitis in order to save lives.