Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Medical diagnostics: Identifying viruses on the spot

19.07.2012
A simple new method of extracting viral RNA from blood samples allows quick, on-the-spot identification of dengue fever in patients
Dengue fever is a disease passed to humans by mosquitoes. Millions of people every year are infected worldwide, and around 4,000–5,000 of these cases will suffer severe complications or death. Dengue fever most commonly affects young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Currently, doctors identify dengue fever by clinical observations followed by a series of laboratory tests of blood and urine samples. These tests can take seven to ten days to complete, and require highly skilled staff and specialist equipment. Due to the complexity of the process, there is also a chance of cross-contamination during the procedure.

For these reasons, researchers are keen to develop quicker, more accurate ways of identifying viruses such as dengue fever. Siti Mohamed Rafei and co-workers at A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics, together with scientists from Veredus Laboratories in Singapore and the National University of Singapore, have designed and built a new self-contained microsystem that can ascertain the presence of dengue fever in blood samples within 30 minutes. Crucially, the new cartridge can be operated by non-skilled staff.

The microsystem works by extracting viral RNA from patients’ blood samples. Using a silicon-based viral extraction chip, and a cartridge containing reservoirs pre-filled with the different reagents required to extract viral RNA, the microsystem is fully self-contained.

In conventional virus detection systems, the chance of cross contamination is high because the extraction process requires extensive manual pipetting of reagents. In the newly designed system, the silicon chip is embedded in a polymeric cartridge that allows the user to preload all necessary reagents, making it fully self-contained and disposable. This added feature is extremely useful for testing infectious disease that might be highly virulent or contagious.

The cartridge is placed inside a handheld computer device with a touch screen. Pressing the start button operates a pre-determined series of plungers, which release the reagents into the silicon chip containing the blood sample. The reagents allow for the extraction of viral RNA and virus identification readout within 30 minutes.

The sequence of plungers and their speed are fully computer-controlled, thus the cartridge is configurable, user-friendly and does not require specialist knowledge to operate. In addition, the cartridge is adaptable to multiple biochemical protocols, not just to the viral RNA for dengue fever as described here. In future, the researchers hope to identify many infectious diseases with this technology.
The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Microelectronics

References:
Zhang, L. et al. A self-contained disposable cartridge microsystem for dengue viral ribonucleic acid extraction. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 160, 1557–1564 (2011).

A*STAR Research | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.a-star.edu.sg
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>