Diagnosis of Pneumonia: Accurate Results in the Shortest Time Save Lives

Coughing, fever, breathing difficulties, chest pain, general health deterioration, headaches and body aches: Pneumonia can develop rapidly. It is one of the most common deadly infectious diseases worldwide, leading to dangerous inflammation of lung tissue. This affects not only individuals with pre-existing conditions but also healthy people. Bernhard Ronacher, CEO and founder of Cube Dx GmbH, is an expert in the field of molecular diagnostics. In this interview, he provides insights into the challenges and advancements in detecting life-threatening pneumonia and how Cube Dx's technology identifies the responsible pathogen with precise results in the shortest time.


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What are the causes of pneumonia and why is it so dangerous?

Pneumonia can be caused by various pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Hospital-acquired pneumonia, particularly dangerous, is often caused by multi-resistant germs. These pathogens are already resistant to many antibiotics, making them difficult to treat and significantly increasing the risk of complications.


To avoid complications, it is important to act quickly. How is pneumonia diagnosed and what role does Cube Dx's technology play?

Diagnosing pneumonia involves a variety of procedures, from clinical examinations by doctors and imaging techniques like X-rays and ultrasound to blood and secretion tests. Direct pathogen detection is crucial. While traditional cultivation remains the standard method, modern molecular biological diagnostics are increasingly becoming a progressive addition. Compact sequencing based on our Cube Dx's hybcell provides direct pathogen detection using genetic fingerprints from patient samples. We test for over 100 different pathogens simultaneously, allowing us to detect rare infections and co-infections.


What is special about Cube Dx's hybcell technology?

Cube Dx's hybcell technology combines simplified sample preparation with advanced molecular analysis techniques like compact sequencing. This allows doctors to obtain precise results in the shortest time, helping them to quickly initiate the appropriate therapy.


What is a bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and when is it necessary?

BAL is performed to obtain samples from deep lung regions that are difficult to access with conventional methods. Cube Dx enables precise molecular diagnostics with minimal effort through simple and rapid sample preparation LINA.


How is this applied for customers and clinicians?

Our technology is housed in central laboratories or clinical microbiology departments. The treating specialists may opt for a molecular biological examination. They collect a sample and send it to the lab, where qualified lab staff promptly conduct the test. The lead lab doctor then prepares the report and sends it back to the treating specialist. This person then decides on further therapy based on the results and other medical findings. Infectious disease specialists are often also consulted.


What advantages does this offer for clinicians and patients?

Our technology provides rapid results with high accuracy, making decision-making easier for doctors and increasing patients' chances of survival. The technology’s ease of use and versatility make it a valuable tool in clinical microbiology.

After a successful diagnosis, doctors can initiate targeted therapy tailored to the identified pathogens. This increases the chances of survival, reduces time in intensive care, and lowers the risk of long-term damage from misguided treatment.


What new applications and developments are there at Cube Dx?

The hybcell technology offers, for the first time, the possibility of conducting molecular biological pathogen detection suitable for complex diseases like pneumonia in everyday clinical practice in terms of speed and pathogen spectrum. We are also working on detecting tissue infections, such as myocarditis or infections following the insertion of joint prostheses.


What milestones have there been for Cube Dx in developing the technology?

Technologically, we have advanced traditional microarray technology from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional structure, enabling significantly more complex detection methods with higher precision. A major challenge for young technologies is obtaining approval as a medical product. We work to the highest standards and approval criteria. However, the most demanding requirements come from the market itself. Performance criteria, transport and storage stability, and acceptable pricing are all mandatory for success.

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