Prevent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ — this on-site test detects Legionella bacteria in just 45 minutes

by Brianna Crandall — November 27, 2019 — Spartan Bioscience recently launched a partnership program to accelerate global adoption of what it says is the world’s first on-site Legionella DNA test and to reduce cases of Legionnaires’ disease around the world. The new program offers exclusive benefits to potential partners in the water treatment; water consultant; and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) industries.

Real-world need for rapid, accurate Legionella detection

Legionella is a bacteria that can contaminate large water systems. When people breathe in water vapor that has been contaminated with Legionella, they are at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ – a pneumonia that is fatal in 1 in 10 people, points out Spartan. Despite increased Legionella testing, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 550% increase in Legionnaires’ cases since 2000.

Overall, Legionnaires’ infects and kills more people annually than asbestos, according to Spartan. And traditional testing methods can be too slow or inaccurate to prevent Legionnaires’ outbreaks. That is why the medical field evolved to DNA-based diagnostics over 10 years ago, says the company.

On-site Legionella DNA test reduces risk of Legionnaires’

Thanks to its biotechnology background and 13 years of research and development (R&D) on its molecular diagnostics platform, Spartan has developed a DNA test that solves the problems of traditional Legionella testing methods. The Spartan Legionella Detection System is reportedly powered by a highly accurate Nobel Prize-winning chemistry called qPCR and provides results in 45 minutes instead of weeks.

Unlike lab-based qPCR methods, Spartan’s test has proprietary technology that detects live and not dead bacteria, and is calibrated to culture so that 1 Genomic Unit(GU)/mL with Spartan = 1 Colony Forming Unit (CFU)/mL with culture. Spartan’s Legionella test is validated according to ISO 12869.

According to Spartan, the Association of Water Technologies (AWT), an international water treatment association representing over 500 companies that specialize in applying water treatments for industrial and commercial cooling and heating systems, recently released  a guidance document that states: “PCR testing is useful for negative screening of microbial samples for Legionella, especially when used in conjunction with culture methods.” The company says the test is also the 2018 winner of the HVAC industry’s top innovation award for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).

Spartan’s product

The Spartan Cube, said to be the world’s smallest DNA testing platform, enables portability and convenience in applications such as infectious disease, pharmacogenetics, and food and water safety testing. Spartan created the first on-site Legionella DNA test to prevent the risk of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in buildings; it consists of the Spartan Cube and a single-use disposable test cartridge.

Spartan Legionella Detection System (Spartan Cube)

The Spartan Legionella Detection System (shown: Spartan Cube) offers rapid on-site detection and validation of treatment success. Image courtesy Spartan Bioscience

Overall, Spartan’s test enables fast and accurate detection of Legionella bacteria to prevent Legionnaires’ outbreaks — at a cost of only a few dollars a day, says the company.

How partners are using Spartan’s test

Customers include Legionella public health experts and leading companies in real estate, data centers, and healthcare.

Spartan’s water treatment partners are differentiating themselves in the global marketplace as innovators and thought leaders who are taking advantage of a worldwide trend toward DNA-based diagnostic techniques. Spartan’s program helps partners:

  • Save time investigating outbreaks. Results in 45 minutes means a company can provide clients with rapid Legionella detection and remediation.
  • Offer an additional testing method. Spartan’s test can be used in parallel to a clients’ existing testing method to provide the most comprehensive prevention.
  • Validate their Legionella program. Prove in real time that their Legionella control program is the most effective in their market.

Additionally, Spartan’s partners have access to a growing ecosystem of scientific leaders and expertise, dedicated training resources and technical support, as well as co-marketing and joint sales calls.

For more information about the Spartan Legionella Detection System, or Spartan’s Partnership Program, visit the company’s website.