OpTech is already successfully working on portable FRET-aptamer technology to rapidly (less than 15 minutes) detect fecal bacteria in water supplies and wishes to expand its repertoire of assays to include parasite and general fungal detection. The FRET-aptamer and handheld sensor package has many other applications in clinical point-of-care diagnostics, portable veterinary diagnostics, environmental pollution and chem-bio terrorism or military detection. In addition, aptamers that bind lipopolysaccharides (endotoxin) and other bacterial components could be very useful in antibacterial or antibiotic-like therapies against life-threatening conditions like sepsis and antibiotic-resistant infections.
In addition, to its present intended use for monitoring bone loss in astronauts under OpTech's Phase 2 SBIR funding from NASA, this same platform technology could be used as a portable means to monitor water quality by ultrasensitive detection of bacteria, fungi and specific parasites. Clearly also, NASA could monitor other non-bone-related clinical analytes in urine or serum for astronauts during spaceflight with one step push-button ease, if appropriate FRET-assays were developed.