Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rapid, low-cost detection of Zika virus using paper-based synthetic gene networks

09.05.2016

University of Toronto Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Keith Pardee and an international team of collaborators, including scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, have developed a low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic platform for detecting the Zika virus.

Using cutting-edge technologies, the team of collaborators from Wyss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Arizona State University, Cornell University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Broad Institute, and the University of Toronto have developed a cell-free, paper-based platform that can host synthetic gene networks for use outside of the lab.


University of Toronto Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Keith Pardee and an international team of collaborators, including scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, have developed a low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic platform for detecting the Zika virus.

Credit: University of Toronto and Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Employing toehold sensors and isothermal RNA amplification, the team has created diagnostic sensors on a freeze-dried piece of paper the size of a stamp. Activated by the amplified sample, the diagnostic sensors programmed into this paper provide extremely sensitive, low-cost, programmable diagnostics that provide rapid results.

This revolutionary paper-based sensor system provides a much needed solution to the challenge of diagnosing the Zika virus. Currently, reliable diagnosis for patients suspected of the Zika virus involves nucleic acid-based testing, which is dependent on laboratory access, highly specific and expensive equipment, and trained technicians. As a result, this type of testing is unsuitable and unavailable in remote locations where surveillance and containment are critically needed.

This new technology, on the other hand, is easy to use and requires little to no training. Specifically tuned to the Zika virus, sensors are applied to small paper samples. Using a small saliva, urine, or blood sample, equivalent to the amount required by blood glucose monitors to test blood sugar levels, the sample is applied to the sensors, triggering a response that provides visually evident results in as little as an hour.

If the sample contains the RNA of the Zika virus, the test area turns purple. In making such a simple to use test, the team has created a exciting tool that promises to bring portable, reliable, and inexpensive Zika diagnostics to the field at less than a dollar per test. Moreover, it does not require a lab, expensive equipment, or highly-trained technicians to administer.

"The diagnostic platform developed by our team has provided a high-performing, low-cost tool that can work in remote locations," notes Dr. Keith Pardee, the lead author of the study. "We have developed a workflow that combines molecular tools to provide diagnostics that can be read out on a piece of paper no larger than a postage stamp. We hope that through this work, we have created the template for a tool that can make a positive impact on public health across the globe."

"Our synthetic biology pipeline for rapid sensor design and prototyping has tremendous potential for application for the Zika virus and other public health threats, enabling us to rapidly develop new diagnostics when and where they are needed most."

While this study in Cell demonstrates proof-of-concept, the team is eager to secure the necessary partners and resources to proceed to the product development phase, followed up by scaled up manufacturing and distribution so that the diagnostic tool can be deployed for use in the field.

Ultimately, the development of quick, easy-to-use, in-the-field tests for Zika and similar pathogens could help governments stay ahead of pathogen outbreaks, curbing the spread of disease and lessening the burden on already overtaxed healthcare systems.

###

To connect with Prof. Pardee, please contact:

Noreen Ahmed-Ullah
University of Toronto Media Relations
416-978-0100
media.relations@utoronto.ca

For further information, please contact:

Kat McAlpine
Wyss Institute Media Relations
katherine.mcalpine@wyss.harvard.edu

http://www.utoronto.ca 

Noreen Ahmed-Ullah | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>