Scout, a diagnostics and health tech company, has received up to $1m in funding from the US non-profit organisation Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) to advance the development of a new point-of-care diagnostic test, STI Scout.

The company will demonstrate proof-of-concept and feasibility before the development of a new point-of-care test.

The test is designed to detect and differentiate between Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) and Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) and is expected to be both quick and inexpensive.

STI Scout is expected to have a turnaround time of 30 minutes and costs that are anticipated to be less than half of the currently available options.

It can use either first void urine or vaginal swabs, and future iterations of the test will aim to guide therapy for gonorrhoea treatment based on antibiotic susceptibility.

The STI Scout test makes use of the Scout Hub, along with the Scout Connect mobile app, which provides instructions, tracks results, and could eventually allow patients to connect digitally to a healthcare provider.

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Scout’s patented Loop-de-Loop chemistry, an isothermal technology validated for highly accurate SARS-CoV-2 detection, underpins the STI Scout system.

Scout’s system has already received emergency use authorisation from the FDA for point-of-care settings, with an over-the-counter (OTC) authorisation pending.

With the CARB-X award, Scout will expand its test menu to include STI testing at clinics, urgent care centres, and potentially for at-home use.

Scout chief technology officer and co-founder Cam Ball said: “Our goal is to improve access to accurate diagnostics for everyone. Scout’s approach benefits clinicians and patients by providing timely, accurate results which can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of patients.

“Importantly, Scout also could assist healthcare providers in determining which treatments are appropriate for the patient and can assist combating the spread of antibiotic resistance bacteria.”

Earlier this year, Visby Medical secured a $1.8m grant from CARB-X to develop a portable rapid diagnostic for gonorrhoea that includes tests for antibiotic susceptibility.