The Future of STI Testing…
Strawberry brings an exciting innovation to the STI-diagnostics industry.
Modified bacteriophage are developed to provide laboratory-standard diagnostics in your pocket, with carefully crafted branding to help combat the stigma surrounding sexual health.
“More than 1 million STIs are acquired every day worldwide.”
World Health Organisation (2019)
High rate of transmission
The incidence of STIs has significantly increased over the last three years globally.
The number of gonorrhoea tests that returned a positive result in Australia increased by 63% between 2012 and 2016. The NSTIS marks the quickly rising prevalence of these three infections as an urgent priority. Additionally, the Global Health Sector of WHO has included a reduction in syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia incidence as one of their targets for 2030.
Many STIs are undetectable until severe symptoms occur.
75% of women and 50% of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. For gonorrhoea; 10-15% of men and about 80% of women may have no symptoms. The majority of syphilis infections present with no symptoms. In many cases an individual could be carrying and transmitting an infection without ever knowing.
Low testing rates
In 2016, only 28% of the total 250,000 estimated cases of chlamydia in the young Australian population were diagnosed.
Evidence suggests a significant gap in testing rates, especially in the young population. Informed decision-making, including an understanding of one’s own or partners’ sexual health, has been proven to reduce the spread of STIs. However, social stigma exists around the topic of sexual activity, making it difficult to attract patients to the idea of testing.
High risk groups
Individuals aged 18-29 are at the highest risk of contracting an STI.
Young people comply with the least with preventative care strategies. The prevalence of ‘hook-up’ culture has played a role in the high transmission and contraction rates of STIs worldwide, as these individuals are more likely to engage in sexual activities with multiple partners. Additionally, men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are at an especially high risk of contracting these infections due to factors related to low socio-economic status and poor health literacy.
“Current efforts to contain the spread of STIs are not sufficient”
World Health ORganisation (2019)
Existing Test Methods
Clinic to Laboratory Tests
Tests where samples are collected at a clinic and sent to laboratories to be analysed
The most common and traditionally carried out tests for STIs. Including tests such as bacterial cultures, blood tests and urine tests.
To get a clinic-laboratory test you need to visit a clinic. A sample is taken and sent to a laboratory for testing. Results can not be received same day and can take up to 90 days.
These tests are the gold standard for reliability, but they are time consuming, inconvenient and present issues of sex related stigma.
Tests which can be picked up at a store and performed anywhere
These tests were developed as a response to the slow turnaround of clinic-laboratory tests. By providing a sample of urine or blood to a device or testing paper, you can typically receive results within half an hour to an hour.
Most existing rapid test kits only test for one type of infection. This leaves people untested for many common infections and gives a sense of false confidence.
Rapid tests show great promise as an STI testing method that provides convenience and simplicity to the field, however they are regularly found to provide unreliable results.
CLINIC-LABORATORY TESTS ARE RELIABLE BUT SLOW
RAPID TESTS ARE FAST BUT UNRELIABLE
Welcome to Strawberry
welcome to better testing
Healthcare made for your world.
Reliable testing for three common STIs.
Accurate results within in the hour.
Your companion in health.
Get detailed information about your results.
Record and monitor your health over time.
Find the right Doctor for you.
Steps to better health.
Step 1. Remove tamper evident seal to ensure sterility
Step 2. Collect sample by swabbing gentiles with all three swabs
Step 3. Pierce the foil on each tube and insert the swab all the way into the tube. One swab for each tube, one tube for each test type.
Step 4. Close the lid firmly to allow the corks in the lid to seal the tests
Step 5. Gently rock the device for 15 seconds to mix the sample and reagents
Step 6. Let sit for one hour
Step 7. Observe viewing window on the bottom of the device, and compare the colour with the swatch from instructions or the companion app.
Step 8. Go get some tiger ; )
Viruses and Genetics
The science of miniaturising laboratory-standard STI testing
Step 1 - Select Bacteriophage
The correct phage must be selected that will target the appropriate infection type.
Step 2 - Isolate capsid gene
Involves isolating the bacteriophage capsid gene, this gene codes for the head or capsid of the bacteriophage
Step 3 - Insert GFP into gene
The fluorescent protein is inserted at the end of the capsid sequence, creating a modified phage or phagosensor.
Step 1 - Inject DNA
The modified bacteriophage inject their DNA into the bacterial cell and hijack the cellular machinery.
Step 2 - Replicates in host
Bacteriophage replicate within the cell resulting in the expression of the fluorescent reporter gene.
Step 3 - Cell lyses
Once enough progeny have been created, the cell lyses and the bacteriophage is released. Creating a coloured fluorescence that is viable to the naked eye.