(photo: Janice Haney Carr; provided by CDC/ Margaret Williams, PhD; Claressa Lucas, PhD;Tatiana Travis, BS (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention))
09.05.2019, 19:22

Trialling the World's First On-site Legionella DNA Test

Landsec and Spartan Bioscience have unveiled plans to trial the first ever on-site Legionella DNA testing kit in the United Kingdom beginning this month.

According to its manufacturer, the Spartan test provides accurate qPCR Legionella results within 45 minutes to enable building operators to take corrective action almost immediately. If approved, Spartan believes the test will obviate the need for sending samples to laboratories and ensure enhanced levels of water safety.


Already used widely in North America by real estate companies, data centres, and healthcare organisations, the the test kit is validated toISO/Technical Specification 12869:2012.


Legionella is a pathogenic group of Gram-negative bacteria which includes the species, L. pneumophila - the principal cause of legionellosis (an illnesses also referred to as " Legionnaires' disease" which produces pneumonia-like symptoms and a mild, flu-like, condition called Pontiac fever.


Commonly found in the water systems of large buildings, Legionella is an airborne illness spread by building occupants inhaling infected water in droplet form. There are dozens of high-profile Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in the UK every year. In August 2017, a woman died from a Legionella outbreak which was traced to a contaminated water system in a Ludlow hotel.1,2


The traditional Legionella testing method, bacterial culture, takes up to 14 days to provide results but laboratory processing times can be slow as the bacteria can grow to outbreak levels in as little as 7 days.3 In comparison, Spartan claims its test provides results in 45 minutes by utilising Nobel-Prize winning chemistry called quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) which is already widely used for medical diagnostics.


Discussing the trial, Tim Peacock, Landsec Innovation Director, said:

“We are always looking for solutions that can make our buildings and their occupants safer, and look forward to working with Spartan to bring this technology to the United Kingdom and investigate methods for further reducing the risk associated with Legionnaires’ outbreaks in buildings."


Paul Lem, M.D., Spartan Bioscience CEO, added: 

"Landsec is one of the leading property management companies in the UK, and we are excited to have them onboard with this trial. With support from businesses like Landsec, we hope eventually to eradicate Legionnaires’ outbreaks around the world".




1. Public Health England. (2018). Legionnaires disease in residents of England and Wales–2016.

2. BBC. (2017). Fatal Legionnaires' outbreak at Ludlow hotel. September 13.

3. Marshall AG, Bellucci EC. (1986). Hospitality Review. 1(4): Article 2.

4. Ahmed S et al. (2019). Journal of Water and Health. 17(2): 237–253.

5. Roberts JD et al. (2012). Lancet. 379:1705–11.



About Spartan Bioscience

Spartan Bioscience is the leader in on-demand DNA testing.(5) Spartan’s technology fully integrates DNA collection, extraction, and analysis, with an intuitive interface that is easy to operate. The Spartan Cube,

the world’s smallest DNA analyzer, enables unprecedented portability and convenience in applications such as infectious disease, pharmacogenetics, and food and water safety testing. Spartan created the first on-site Legionella DNA test to reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in buildings. It consists of a coffee-cup-sized, portable DNA analyzer called the Spartan Cube® and a single-use disposable test cartridge.


About Landsec

Landsec (LSE: LAND) is one of the largest commercial property development and real estate investment company in the United Kingdom, with more than 23M sq. ft. and £14B under management. Landsec’s portfolio includes landmark buildings such as Piccadilly Lights and the Zig Zag Building. Landsec is highly committed to improving health and safety through innovation solutions.





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