A recently developed lab-on-a-chip device, which can diagnose the opportunistic parasite in as little as 10 minutes, may help improve treatment in remote, at-risk rural areas
For a healthy individual, an infection of Cryptosporidium parvum may mean nothing more than a few days of bad diarrhea. For someone with a compromised immune system, it can mean death, following an excruciating, protracted bout of watery diarrhea.
Recently, researchers at Fudan University's Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Shanghai developed a lab-on-a-chip device that can rapidly diagnose cryptosporidium infections from just a finger prick -- potentially bringing point-of-care diagnosis to at-risk areas in rural China in order to improve treatment outcomes.
Worldwide, treatment for the parasitic infection consists largely of oral rehydration and managing symptoms until the body clears the infection, something that may take far longer for people with HIV infections.
Currently, China has more than 780,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, but there is very little data on how many of them are living with Cryptosporidium infections.
This stems from the difficulties of diagnosing an infection in the field -- poor sensitivity and a short window of spore secretion both limit the viability of acid-fast staining, a standard diagnostic assay in use today. More advanced immunoassays, such as ELISA, are difficult to use broadly because they require relatively advanced lab settings and skilled technicians.
To address this need, Xunjia Cheng and Guodong Sui, both professors at Fudan University, sought to develop a device better suited for the field. Cheng's research has involved medical protozoa and opportunistic HIV infections, and Sui's lab focuses on microfluidics. This week in the journal Biomicrofluidics, from AIP Publishing, they describe how they developed and tested the new microfluidic device as the fruit of this collaboration.
The microfluidic chip was designed by AutoCad software and manufactured from a widely used silicon-based organic polymer known as PDMS. It consists of functional valves, pumps and columns, collectively sitting at the heart of a platform of reagent cartridges, an injection pump, a fluorescence microscope and a digital camera. The chip itself is small -- 3 cm by 2 cm -- and only costs about a dollar to manufacture, according to Sui.
The microfluidic device tests for the presence of the parasites' P23 antigen, a major molecular target of host antibody responses against the pathogen's infective stages.
The device is easy to use, allowing just about anybody to operate it, Sui and Cheng said. It can process up to five samples at a time, and the entire detection process can be completed in 10 minutes with only two microliters of blood -- less than the volume of a typical mustard seed.
Sui and Cheng tested their device's efficacy at diagnosing Cryptosporidium infections in 190 HIV-infected patients in Guangxi, China.
They found that the device's diagnostic capabilities were on par with those of ELISA - essentially giving you a device that's as effective as the current diagnostic standard, with huge potential reductions in cost, timeframe, size and the amount of training needed to operate.
Future work for Sui and Cheng involves expanding the chip's sample processing capacities to include other infectious diseases, as well as increasing the device's sensitivity and specificity.
The article, "Rapid microfluidic immunoassay for surveillance and diagnosis of Cryptosporidium infection in HIV-infected patients," is authored by Li Zhang, Yongfeng Fu, Wenwen Jing, Qing Xu, Wang Zhao, Meng Feng, Hiroshi Tachibana, Guodong Sui and Xunjia Cheng. It will appear in the journal Biomicrofluidics on April 14, 2015 (DOI: 10.1063/1.4916229). After that date, it can be accessed at: http://scitation.
The authors of this paper are affiliated with Fudan University and Tokai University School of Medicine.
ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Biomicrofluidics publishes research highlighting fundamental physiochemical mechanisms associated with microfluidic and nanofluidic phenomena as well as novel microfluidic and nanofluidic techniques for diagnostic, medical, biological, pharmaceutical, environmental, and chemical applications. See http://bmf.
Jason Socrates Bardi
Jason Socrates Bardi | EurekAlert!
A new force for optical tweezers awakens
19.06.2019 | University of Gothenburg
View of the Earth in front of the Sun
19.06.2019 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.
Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...
The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified
The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...
Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...
Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...
Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.
The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
19.06.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.06.2019 | Information Technology
19.06.2019 | Materials Sciences