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 Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease
22.08.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
22.08.2017 | University at Buffalo

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>