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NanoSat project funded by NATO

A novel Nanoparticle based Real-Time Sensor for B. anthracis and M. tuberculosis (NanoSat)

A multi year project funded by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.

The main aim of this project which launched in Jan of 2021 is to advance the develop of a novel, nanoparticle-based, real-time (<60 mins)  sensor platform capable of detecting B.anthracis and M.tuberculosis in real world samples.

Access to a cost effective, simple to use, diagnostic point of care assay would markedly reduce the impact of natural exposure to a biological agent such as tuberculosis, which affects one third of the world’s population. This also applies to the unnatural (bioterrorist) exposure to an agent such as Anthrax by facilitating the timely administration of appropriate medical countermeasures.

The aim of this project is to advance the development of a simple and easy to use, low cost sensor capable of being operated in the field, covering both infection scenarios outlined above.

This is particularly important in the context of a biological attack where an aggressor is likely to strike at a time and place calculated to cause maximum disruption. The widespread deployment of such an assay would markedly reduce the time of detection and response. Such a  system could also be used to map the extent of biological contamination following an attack, with a view to identifying areas which require targeted decontamination.

A cost effective and efficient sensor will make it affordable in poor countries and find wide applications in the developing world, where the healthcare system functions under severe financial constraints.

Project partners

Cardiff University is the NATO partner director for the NanoSat project.

The Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme promotes dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO member states and partner nations based on scientific research, technological innovation and knowledge exchange. The SPS Programme offers funding, expert advice and support to tailor-made, security-relevant activities that respond to NATO’s strategic objectives.

The Ukrainian State Institution Institute of Environmental Geochemistry is a partner country director of the project. It was founded over 25 years ago and employs over 150 highly qualified researchers and engineers. There is a modern laboratory base and a design department. The institute specialises in the development of technologies and equipment for the rapid detection of nuclear and radioactive agents in order to counter nuclear terrorism and also the development of technologies for detecting toxic substances and building models of their distribution in the event of entering the environment.

The Chuiko Institute of Surface Chemistry (CISC) is a partner country co-director of the NanoSat Project based in Kyiv, Ukraine. It comprises 10 Departments, 8 Laboratories, 215 employees including 18 Professors and 80 PhD holders, and a Pilot plant manufacturing ~700 tonnes/year of nano oxides. It was created in 1986 to study fundamental and applied problems in chemistry, physics and technology of solid surfaces, highly disperse solids, functional nanomaterials and composites (including metal and metalloid oxides, metals, carbons, polymers) for industry, medicine, and agriculture, as well as theory of chemical structure and reactivity, biomedical and biochemical problems, physical chemistry of surface and interfacial phenomena at surfaces of various nanomaterials and composites. CISC organises annual international conference on Physics, Chemistry and Biology of Surfaces; it will serve as a platform for dissemination activities of the project.

The Clinical and Prophylactic Centre of Phthisiology is based in Dnipropetrivsk Regional Council, Dnipro, Ukraine.The clinic was founded in 1974 to treat patients with tuberculosis and is of regional importance. The clinic is designed for 350 people (30 for children with TB) with its main activity being the treatment of ТВ, other lung diseases, and socially significant diseases. Аdditional medical services include family medicine, substitution maintenance therapy, ART of HIV/AIDS, hemodialysis, palliative mobile medical care, and the treatment of COVID-19.

About 2,500 patients (100 children with TB) are treated in the hospital each year. Оutpatient branches of the clinic (Dnipro, Pavlograd, Nikopol) hold more than 120,000 receptions annually (31,000 receptions of children). The clinic is a clinical base for the National Institute of Phthisiology and Pulmonology and is named after F.G. Yanovsky NAMS of Ukraine. It works towards the study of antimycobacterial therapy using new drugs (bedaquiline (BDQ) and delamanide (DLM) in short regimens) in patients with multidrug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis. Тhe clinic is certified ISO 9001:2015. There is also a laboratory with a back department (BSL-2) - regional reference laboratory for tuberculosis diagnostics. Annually in the laboratory about two hundred thousand researches are carried out (sanitary and bacteriological researches at 3%). The laboratory annually undergoes an external evaluation of the quality of research conducted by the Ukrainian National Reference Laboratory for TB.

The clinic has 638 employees (100 doctors, 198 nurses and 154 junior nurses, and 186 non-nurses).

The Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Puglia and Basilicata (IZSPB) is a NATO partner co-director on the project. It is a specialized Italian government-funded institution mainly involved in diagnostics and research. The main tasks of the institute are the diagnosis of animal infectious diseases, zoonotic diseases and food borne diseases. It also takes part in the execution of infectious disease prophylaxis plans. To this end, the institute develops innovative microbiological, immunological and molecular-biology detection procedures.

The IZSPB is also the site of the Anthrax National Reference Institute of Italy. The laboratory is licenced by the Ministry of Health of Italy to work with fully virulent strains of Bacillus anthracis and to process samples suspected of contamination with anthrax spores in the context of bioterrorism. The institute is provided of one BSL-2 plus and one BSL-3 laboratory and it is also involved in the diagnosis and control of highly pathogenic agents, in particular Bacillus anthracis. One of the main activities of this laboratory regards the isolation of B. anthracis from environmental samples for the study of the ecology of anthrax, and the genotyping of B. anthracis strains by molecular and sequencing methods. The IZSPB takes part in national and international research programs, with regard to health, prevention, preparedness, surveillance and response to threats related to infectious diseases.



For more information about this project, please contact:

Professor Les Baillie

Professor Les Baillie

Professor of Microbiology

+44 (0)29 2087 5535