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 Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>