Scout secures CARB-X grant to advance diagnostic test development

Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Scout, formerly Uh Oh Labs, will advance its point-of-care (POC) diagnostic test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with a new $1 million accelerator grant.

The latest funding, made available from Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X),  supports demonstrating proof-of-concept and feasibility for STI Scout. The test system aims to detect and differentiate between Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) and Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) in 30 minutes; however, Scout's plans are to see STI Scout guide therapy based on antibiotic susceptibility, according to a news release.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the first and second most common bacterial STIs in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC's) Sexually Transmitted Infections Surveillance Report. One factor driving the development of convenient STI testing is increasing rates of STIs. Over 1.6 million cases of chlamydia and nearly 650,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported in 2022 alone, according to the CDC.

Typically, both chlamydia and gonorrhea can be easily treated, but if left untreated, both infections can cause serious health complications, including infertility. The CARB-X award will help Scout expand its test menu to POC testing at STI clinics, urgent care centers, and as a potential at-home test, Scout said.

STI Scout can use either first-void urine or vaginal swabs, according to the company. In addition, STI Scout uses the Scout Hub to run and the Scout Connect mobile app for instruction and tracking results. The company currently markets its UOL COVID-19 test, an emergency use authorized (EUA) molecular test that uses nucleic acid amplification to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

In its announcement, Scout Labs noted that it has been supported with over $15 million in contracts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and investments from private investors such as Y Combinator. Uh Oh Labs announced it would become Scout in May 2023.

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