New York, NY (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Pregnancy test companies have gotten big in the last couple of years, especially so-called plasticized pregnancy tests which deliver fast and accurate results in minutes. The main problem with these tests is that they do not check for the presence of E. coli or any other antibiotics in the urine, often leading women to be told they are perfectly healthy even when those results might be dangerously high. Now a Yale University Center for Facial Molecular Biology (CFMB) neuroscientist has developed a “Pregnancy Test for Water” that fills that vital diagnostic gap.
Established in 1851 as the National Hospital in Vienna, Austria, the original hospital was dismantled in the 1970s, but its products lived on. In their 1970s health, many Austrian women were prescribed antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections. In Europe, these antibiotic prescriptions began to decline in the 1990s; yet they have continued in the United States, and it is estimated that one in ten pregnant women are given antibiotic prescriptions.
That was when Dr. David Zinthig came up with the idea of developing a DNA solution for pregnancy tests. Dr. Zinthig explained that when he studied the placenta, he found “it was bursting with DNA and lots of DNA.” This DNA came from the placenta’s mother as well as its paternal germ cells. Thus the placenta could become a line of paternity proof. He reasoned that DNA obtained from pregnant women who had antibiotics in their urine could be a way to test for bacteria and medicines, thus giving a pregnant woman the same paternity tests given to men when they get a test for his sex.
Dr. Zinthig’s Pregnancy Test for Water is based on a traditional DNA test, in which hair follicles containing DNA are coated with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that produces DNA and then reacts with amino acids found in urine, and generate “babies” that are indicators of bacteria or other contaminants. Zinthig tested the test on mice and demonstrated it was a fine detection method for detecting E. coli bacteria.
But even better than this, Zinthig has developed a paper-based test for urine with the same PCR detection capability that is easily absorbed by pregnant women, and which can be used during pregnancy, or even over a period of days or weeks to reveal the presence of E. coli.
“My results are showing that this test is better than the plastic version,” he said. “And it can detect E. coli bacteria in urine in 20 minutes instead of taking 20 minutes. So I’m thinking that my tests will be useful to many more pregnant women than a plasticized test is today.”
Zinthig also noted that his urine test is a non-toxic, water-based solution, which allows it to be easily dispersed around areas that are heavily contaminated with either E. coli or other bacteria.
He’s also used another method to find contamination in urine collected by E. coli-infected dogs. And he’s also addressed the dilemma of needing to get a pregnant woman to pee on a thin disc. He’s produced a paper-based urine pregnancy test that holds a large holder in a waterproof circle that the woman can hold her urine, as well as sterile tips with easy packaging.
“Most pregnancy tests are expensive, not easy to get results from, and unreliable.” Zinthig observed. “If this test was readily available, pregnant women could have much better Pregnancy Test for Water results and find out much more quickly whether E. coli are in their urine, or whether they might have serious bacterial infections and complications.”