New kidney test device to improve access to early detection for Singapore patients

December 31, 2020

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the sixth most common cause of death in Singapore and will likely rise further with the Republic’s increased prevalence of diabetes and ageing population. Yet, only 10% of those with CKD know they have it; combined with limited screening options available many patients in Southeast Asia never come to medical attention.

Thankfully, patients will soon have the option to be tested by a new early-detection device for CKD at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). Called ACT by Zensorium, by Nitto Denko Asia Technical Centre (NAT), the medical device tests urine for increased levels of albumin and creatinine, which correlates with a higher risk of CKD onset and progression.

The more accessible medical device is reportedly the first without the need for costly cold-chain refrigeration in the testing process, offering instead a competitive cost at care facilities.

Basic CKD screening options today use test strips which give a rough estimate of how the kidney is functioning. The results of these screenings are often qualitative instead of quantitative, and thus difficult for early detection of kidney problems.

In comparison, ACT by Zensorium has a specificity and sensitivity of over 95% compared to laboratory-grade kidney tests. This is possible because the testing device and test cartridges are designed to prioritise ease of use but still be highly robust to minimise errors from handling and measurement by testing personnel.The system is currently being tested at SGH as a part of the clinical verification and product finalisation process.

“No laboratory-grade chronic kidney tests can be done in the rural areas in the tropical climates of Southeast Asia without investing in facility infrastructure. We removed the need for cold-chain processes in our chemicals and engineered our device to achieve consumer-grade kidney tests that will cut down costs, and improve access even in a primary care setting,” said Dr. Visit Thaveeprungsriporn, Managing Director of NAT.

The device is expected to be a game-changer for early kidney disease intervention in the region: NAT plans to apply for product registration and approval from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority for the device’s rollout, with the intention to expand to other countries in Southeast Asia.

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