Project title: APAS® Compact - Development of a benchtop device for automated microbiology culture plate reading and reporting
As the global demand for diagnostic testing grows, driven by a rise in chronic diseases, aging population, infectious diseases and emergence of new disease threats (e.g., COVID-19), microbiology laboratories are increasingly expected to deliver quality results with fewer resources whilst under immense time pressure.
Similarly, the growing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) around the world (4.95 million deaths associated with AMR in 2019), highlights the need for timely and accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases to direct effective treatment.
Culture plate reading is one of the most specialised, critical and time-consuming activities in the microbiology laboratory accounting for approximately ~50 per cent of microbiology staff time and remains a largely manual process. Laboratories are in need of new and sophisticated technologies that deliver real efficiencies and integrate within existing workflows, especially in this high value task.
The Automated Plate Assessment System (APAS®) Compact will be a low-cost benchtop system, specifically designed for smaller, remote and poorly resourced laboratories, underserved by existing automation solutions because they do not have the workload, space or budget available. Additionally, the APAS Compact will have complimentary utility in larger laboratory settings by serving as an adjunct to existing automation solutions.
Using LBT's APAS® technology, APAS Compact will use artificial intelligence and image analysis to automate the reading of culture plates, categorising them as "negative", showing no significant bacterial growth, or "positive", requiring further review by a microbiologist. Negative plates, accounting for up to 90 per cent of plates depending on the specimen, are automatically reported to the Laboratory Information System and are thereby eliminated from the laboratory workflow, providing labour and time efficiencies, freeing up critical time for microbiologists to focus on positive results and address other testing needs.
CTCM Project Round: One