Tool for a fast, simple, affordable and direct detection of β-lactamases in clinical samples

The system developed by BL-DetectTool uses a testing strip and a device that can be produced by 3D printer to detect the presence of drug resistant bacteria. This simple user-friendly innovation gives hospitals a powerful weapon in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, one of the greatest threats to public health that we face today.


Antimicrobial resistance has a high impact on public health and the economy. Every year, 700 000 people die worldwide because of infections caused by multidrug-resistant pathogens, and the costs for the treatment of these infections is estimated at €1.5 billion annually, in Europe alone. The BL-DetecTool is a promising innovation aimed at detecting drug resistant bacteria by identifying broad-spectrum β-lactamases (called ESBL and carbapenemases), directly from the patient’s sample.


This project involves:

  • three hospitals, ISGlobal (Spain); APHP (France); Semmelweis University (Hungary), which validate the BL-DetecTool and
  • optimise operating procedures.
  • one research organization, CEA (France), which designed and produces the BL-DetecTool.
  • one business school, IESE (Spain), which establishes the business plan.
  • one company, NG Biotech (France), which is involved in the production of the BL-DetecTool, and will market it when it is made commercially available.

The project

Rapid detection and identification of β-lactamases-producing bacteria is essential to prevent further spread of these dangerous bacteria and to provide appropriate antimicrobial therapy. BL-DectecTool seeks to optimise and validate a new detection system that is the first to allow fast, affordable, user-friendly and direct detection of β-lactamases in clinical samples.

The innovation consists of a β-lactamases detection strip, which is enclosed in a plastic device. The device, produced by 3D printing, carries out the sample treatment. It is smaller and more portable than current detection procedures, and it provides results much more quickly – in 30 minutes instead of 16 hours or more – and more affordably – at €10-20 per test instead of €40.

Through this project, the devices will be optimised and validated with real clinical samples. The operational procedures will be improved to fit with clinical habits and analytical specifications (sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility). At the end of the project, a business concept will be established and training tools for end-users will be provided to accelerate the industrial transfer and its implementation in care facilities. EIT Health funding of this project boosts the development, validation and launch to the market of this badly needed rapid diagnostic tool.


Faster, easier detection of anti-microbial resistant bacteria will mean that tests can be carried out more often, and that patients who need special treatment will be identified more quickly. The tool improves efficiency of treatment for these patients and reduces staff workload by making testing easier and quicker, which will benefit payers. By identifying resistant bacteria, it will help ensure patients only receive the antibiotics they need. The resulting reduction in prescriptions saves money and helps to slow the emergence of new resistant strains.

Why this is an EIT Health project

In recognition of the importance of this problem, EIT Health has identified efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance as a key challenge for its Wild Card projects. The BLDetecTool solution is in line with the EIT Health Focus Area of “Care Pathways”, as it promises to improve care of patients infected with resistant bacteria.

External partner:

  • NG Biotech
Dr Herve volland
| Researcher | CEA