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 Vanishing capillaries
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>