Brookline mom pioneers at-home strep solution
A Brookline mother of four’s dream of driving down family medical costs has led to the design of an at-home strep test she says will offer a faster, cheaper alternative to going to the doctor.
Why it matters: The innovation could be a game changer for parents who don’t want to run up a bill at the doctor’s office, says Nathalya Mamane, who came up with the idea in 2020 while in graduate school at Babson College in Wellesley.
What’s happening: Mamane and her team at RT MicroDx (formerly called RT Microfluidics) are developing what she describes as a PCR-quality, at-home kit out of a lab in Newton.
- The strep test would resemble a rapid COVID-19 test, but it would examine DNA to detect the infection, similarly to a PCR test.
- One line shows up if it’s negative. Two lines means it’s positive.
If successful, the test would deliver accurate results in minutes.
- Currently, children at the doctor’s office can get a rapid test result in minutes, but if it’s negative they need to confirm the results through a throat culture, which typically takes 48 hours or more to get results.
The big picture: The U.S. records 14,000 to 25,000 cases of invasive strep a year, with 1,500 to 2,300 cases resulting in death.
- Massachusetts has had about 200 to 400 invasive strep cases a year in the past decade, per the state's Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences.
What they’re saying: “I thought about what was my biggest pain point as a mom, and it's always been going to the doctor," Mamane tells Axios.
- “My vision has been to make this affordable and accessible,” she says.
Of note: Her daughter, Olivia, who was a senior studying bioengineering at McGill University in Montreal, created the initial design for the strep test.
The latest: RT MicroDx won the 2022 Babson Entrepreneurial Thoughts & Action Challenge, securing $28,000 in funding, and was a finalist at MassChallenge’s Resolve 2023 awards.
What’s next: Mamane is fundraising to help meet the company’s product development deadline at the end of the year and hopes to start clinical trials as early as next year.
- If the test works, she wants to develop a similar one to detect mono or other illnesses.
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