Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Strep)

The Pathogen

Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A Streptococcus, (GAS) is a Gram-positive bacterium and one of the most frequent pathogens found in the normal flora of humans. Group A Strep is the cause of such non-invasive diseases as strep throat and impetigo, as well as much more harmful lethal conditions such as streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) and necrotizing fasciitis (NF)--also known as flesh-eating disease--among others.

The CDC estimates the number of non-invasive Streptococcus pyogenes cases at 10 million annually. The more dangerous cases of invasive Strep infections occur at a rate of 9,000-11,500 annually in the U.S., resulting in 1,000-1,800 deaths. The mortality rate in patients with STSS and NF is estimated at 35 percent and 25 percent, respectively. In addition, conditions such as organ system failure and amputation may result from invasive Strep.

The Problem

Deadly strains of Streptococcus pyogenes can be opportunistic, causing invasive infections in people with compromised immune systems, including the elderly, people with chronic cardiac or respiratory disease, diabetes, penetrating trauma or surgical wounds, intravenous drug-users and people with skin lesions (including children with chicken pox). Virulence factors including exotoxins produced by the bacteria assist in further diminishing the body’s response to fighting infection, and increase the probability of lethal infections by a myriad of diseases.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the variety and severity of Streptococcus pyogenes infections, including those that are invasive. Though Strep remains susceptible to penicillin, some strains are known to be resistant to macrolides, such as erythromycin, as well as tetracyclines and clindamycin. Current methods of detection using traditional Petri-dish technology return results of invasive Strep infections in approximately 24 hours. This long wait time often results in physicians treating patients empirically with broad spectrum antibiotics while they wait for test results to return from the lab. This can cause Strep strains to be exposed to ineffective antibiotic treatments and develop further resistance.

The NanoLogix Solution - Live-threat microorganism detection in 5 hours

Without an available vaccine for Streptococcus pyogenes and an emerging antibiotic resistance, the race is on for rapid diagnostics to return faster, live-cell results. At NanoLogix, our technology is able to reduce the current 24 hour live-cell wait time to an estimated 5 hours. This is 4.8 times faster than conventional Petri methods, while also more accurate and less expensive than PCR.

Rapid detection methods, like those from NanoLogix, are necessary to protect the growing population of immunocompromised people in long-term care facilities, as well as those who are hospitalized. Significantly faster test results aid in the prevention of the spread of Streptococcus pyogenes, as well as the development of antibiotic-resistant strains.

Such rapid detection with short wait times mean tests can be done in-house at hospitals and long-term care facilities. In addition, they can be performed in one shift, resulting in fewer mistakes that might occur when a test is handed off from one technician to another during a shift change. Finally, in the likelihood of a Strep outbreak, NanoLogix can help to mitigate the spread of the pathogenic bacteria to other patients through rapid and accurate detection and identification of Strep infections.