Feb 27, 2023 - News

Brookline mom pioneers at-home strep solution

Illustration of clock with a q-tip for the hour hand

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more