TestCard has announced its noninvasive at-home urinary tract infection test kit to be launched in the UK in August 2020.
With the accompanying mobile app, users can detect a UTI through immediate testing results and choose to share information with a healthcare professional.
To take the test, the first step is to scan the QR code with the TestCard app to inform it of the type of test being conducted. From there, users collect a urine sample in a clean container and dip the testing strip in. To get the test results, users rescan the QR code and within two minutes they get results without medical jargon. The app indicates whether or not medical advice is needed and can share the results with a doctor.
The test kit retails for £10 ($13) and comes with two testing strips. It will be available for purchase directly from the TestCard website or eventually through pharmaceutical partnerships, according to TestCard.
WHY THIS MATTERS
UTIs are one of the most frequent clinical bacterial infections in women, accounting for nearly 25% of all infections. Up to 60% of women will have one within their lifetime, according to a report from the Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal.
Typical current practices for diagnosing a UTI involve the analysis of a midstream, clean-catch urine specimen through a dipstick test performed by a clinician, according to the National Institution for Health Research. These kinds of tests typically take 24 to 72 hours to get results back.
Tests performed in a clinical setting also require laboratory facilities, which can be expensive and labor-intensive, according to the NIHR.
As a result, technologies designed to decrease the time it takes to receive results, reduce laboratory load and associated costs, and minimize the number of doctor visits have received “growing interest,” according to the NIHR.
THE LARGER TREND
TestCard’s UTI test has been on the scene for some time now. In 2018, it received $1.7 million (£1.25 million) in seed funding from Neo Ventures to develop its product. Then, in 2019, the company joined the nine-month Health Hub accelerator program put on by Novartis and Wayra UK that offered mentoring and business development. TestCard was also acknowledged as a Top Emerging Technology at CES 2019.
TestCard is not alone in developing a smartphone-enabled UTI test, however. Biological engineers at the University of Bath developed a similar test, which is set for clinical trials. Scanwell Health has an FDA-cleared smartphone UTI test. It raised $3.5 million in seed funding last year. Healthy.io, Mira and inui Health also have urinalysis technologies of their own.
ON THE RECORD
“It’s our aim to make testing fast, accurate, and accessible for all. When you take a TestCard UTI test, the results screen indicates a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and tells you if you need to seek medical advice,” said Dr. Andrew Botham, one of the founders of TestCard, in a statement. “There’s no medical jargon or complicated numbers. The results are private and secure – you’re the only person who can decide if you want to share them with your doctor. Your doctor can then use the detailed numbers and analysis, which sits behind the results screen, to decide how best to treat you.”