Technology


High throughput DNA detection

Safeguard’s unique microarray platform extracts pathogenic DNA with automated instrumentation from biological samples, which is then amplified by PCR. Each isolated sample of DNA is fluorescently labelled and introduced into the well of a conventional 96-well plate, comprising a microarray of 3D gel pads in which target DNA probes are suspended. 96 patient-samples can be run on a single well plate, each well having the ability to identify multiple targets simultaneously. A laser scanner identifies the matched DNA and the associated pathogen, signaling a positive sample. Positive patient samples are then tested for antibiotic resistance from the extracted DNA. After each test, a proprietary process restores the microarray to its original condition and prepares the plate for re-use,. Multiple re-use substantially reduces the cost per test.

As the plates are re-usable, prior to initial use and after each use, the plates are QC tested for contamination and efficacy - ensuring robust and repeatable results..


The Safeguard Microplex Blood Panel can detect >95% of all the organisms listed in the antibiogram from one of the largest US microbiology laboratories. Multiple infections can be identified simultaneously. The system can also identify DNA from other sources including, for example, where there is cross-species contamination in meat products or species substitution in fish. The system can detect DNA from most samples.

Current technologies used to identify bacterial infections from blood samples typically require a period of cell culture in order to grow the population of bacteria to a level at which it is detectable by current analytical methods. This process of cell culture can typically take 24-72 hours and requires 40ml samples of blood, which can be challenging in infants and elderly. Safeguard requires 4ml blood samples. Moreover, 20% of cultures show no growth and 15% may be contaminated. Growth of dominant bacteria can also overwhelm a poly-microbial infection.

Safeguard’s molecular DNA detection does not require a period of culture and it can provide same-day results. The biological sample required is very small and the level of detection is extremely low, without the risk of ‘no growth’. Safeguard can identify over 98% of the most frequent bacterial bloodstream pathogens by species and/or genus and multiple pathogens can be identified in a single sample. Most importantly, Safeguard’s system can provide mono or poly microbial results for 100s to 1000s (depending on scale up) of patient samples during a single hospital shift.