A device and a kit for detection of methanol poisoning

Field: Diagnostics | Medical devices


The technology is represented by a device for determining concentrations of methanol and formic acid in samples of blood serum, blood plasma, other body fluids, and alcoholic beverages to detect intoxication of the organism after ingestion of methanol. The device can be made in a portable design. The solution also includes reagent kits suitable for use with the apparatus.

Methanol poisoning is a rare, but very dangerous condition. Rapid analysis and identification of a toxic chemical in body fluids during acute poisoning is absolutely crucial as it allows selecting appropriate antidotes and consequently the initiation of effective therapy. In methanol poisoning both the ingested methanol and its metabolite highly toxic formic acid may be present in the body. At present, there is no portable analytical instrument that can quickly determine at the same time the concentration of methanol and formic acid in blood plasma or other body fluids. Determination of the level of methanol or formic acid in the blood is performed by gas chromatography in specialized toxicological laboratories, mostly larger hospitals, which brings delays.

The present invention is a portable analytical apparatus for determining the concentration of methanol and formic acid in a sample, e.g. in blood serum, blood plasma or other body fluids, or determining the methanol concentration in alcoholic beverages. This instrument allows measurement of the reaction mixture by direct measurement of the optical properties of the resulting products, where the measured signal is directly evaluated (e.g. on the LCD display or a LED indicator) or passed on to a evaluation device, e.g. a notebook. The device can be further modified by adding a microcontroller that includes, for example, adjustable LEDs to indicate the signal level and signaling the severity of intoxication depending on the concentration of toxic substances in a sample of a body fluid. Thanks to the clearly displayed result, the device can also be used by the laic, thus avoiding the need for specially trained personnel in the laboratories.

The advantage that this device brings is to quickly determine the exact concentration of these substances and its full portability as it can be powered by conventional AA batteries, allowing it to work in the field, i.e. outside of a specialized laboratory (at a patient, in an ambulance etc.). The results are known within 10 minutes.

Commercial opportunity

The main purpose of the device is immediate determination of methanol and formic acid (its metabolite) in case of suspected methanol poisoning, without the need to transport the blood sample to the toxicological laboratory and the subsequent waiting time for the result. The device allows determination of the concentration of these substances in the patient's blood collected in the field without trained personnel within minutes (e.g. upon the arrival of an ambulance). Rapid analysis and identification of a toxic chemical in body fluids during acute poisoning is absolutely crucial for administering effective antidotes and consequent initiation of effective therapy. Also the fact that there is neither trained personnel nor specialized laboratory required makes this method more cost, time and resources effective than conventional methods currently in use.

The device is particularly suited to emergency services, police or homeless shelters, or wherever it is necessary to quickly find out whether methanol poisoning has occurred.

IP protection status

Utility model (Czech Republic)

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