skip to main content

Title: Smartphone clip-on instrument and microfluidic processor for rapid sample-to-answer detection of Zika virus in whole blood using spatial RT-LAMP
Rapid, simple, inexpensive, accurate, and sensitive point-of-care (POC) detection of viral pathogens in bodily fluids is a vital component of controlling the spread of infectious diseases. The predominant laboratory-based methods for sample processing and nucleic acid detection face limitations that prevent them from gaining wide adoption for POC applications in low-resource settings and self-testing scenarios. Here, we report the design and characterization of an integrated system for rapid sample-to-answer detection of a viral pathogen in a droplet of whole blood comprised of a 2-stage microfluidic cartridge for sample processing and nucleic acid amplification, and a clip-on detection instrument that interfaces with the image sensor of a smartphone. The cartridge is designed to release viral RNA from Zika virus in whole blood using chemical lysis, followed by mixing with the assay buffer for performing reverse-transcriptase loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) reactions in six parallel microfluidic compartments. The battery-powered handheld detection instrument uniformly heats the compartments from below, and an array of LEDs illuminates from above, while the generation of fluorescent reporters in the compartments is kinetically monitored by collecting a series of smartphone images. We characterize the assay time and detection limits for detecting Zika RNA and gamma ray-deactivated Zika virus spiked into buffer and whole blood and compare the performance of the same assay when conducted in conventional PCR tubes. Our approach for kinetic monitoring of the fluorescence-generating process in the microfluidic compartments enables spatial analysis of early fluorescent “bloom” events for positive samples, in an approach called “Spatial LAMP” (S-LAMP). We show that S-LAMP image analysis reduces the time required to designate an assay as a positive test, compared to conventional analysis of the average fluorescent intensity of the entire compartment. S-LAMP enables the RT-LAMP process to be as short as 22 minutes, resulting in a total sample-to-answer time in the range of 17–32 minutes to distinguish positive from negative samples, while demonstrating a viral RNA detection as low as 2.70 × 10 2 copies per μl, and a gamma-irradiated virus of 10 3 virus particles in a single 12.5 μl droplet blood sample.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Analyst
Page Range / eLocation ID:
3838 to 3853
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    The COVID-19 pandemic provides an urgent example where a gap exists between availability of state-of-the-art diagnostics and current needs. As assay protocols and primer sequences become widely known, many laboratories perform diagnostic tests using methods such as RT-PCR or reverse transcription loop mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). Here, we report an RT-LAMP isothermal assay for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and demonstrate the assay on clinical samples using a simple and accessible point-of-care (POC) instrument. We characterized the assay by dipping swabs into synthetic nasal fluid spiked with the virus, moving the swab to viral transport medium (VTM), and sampling a volume of the VTM to perform the RT-LAMP assay without an RNA extraction kit. The assay has a limit of detection (LOD) of 50 RNA copies per μL in the VTM solution within 30 min. We further demonstrate our assay by detecting SARS-CoV-2 viruses from 20 clinical samples. Finally, we demonstrate a portable and real-time POC device to detect SARS-CoV-2 from VTM samples using an additively manufactured three-dimensional cartridge and a smartphone-based reader. The POC system was tested using 10 clinical samples, and was able to detect SARS-CoV-2 from these clinical samples by distinguishing positive samples from negative samples after 30 min. The POC tests are in complete agreement with RT-PCR controls. This work demonstrates an alternative pathway for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics that does not require conventional laboratory infrastructure, in settings where diagnosis is required at the point of sample collection. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Point-of-care COVID-19 assays that are more sensitive than the current RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) gold standard assay are needed to improve disease control efforts. We describe the development of a portable, ultrasensitive saliva-based COVID-19 assay with a 15-min sample-to-answer time that does not require RNA isolation or laboratory equipment. This assay uses CRISPR-Cas12a activity to enhance viral amplicon signal, which is stimulated by the laser diode of a smartphone-based fluorescence microscope device. This device robustly quantified viral load over a broad linear range (1 to 10 5 copies/μl) and exhibited a limit of detection (0.38 copies/μl) below that of the RT-PCR reference assay. CRISPR-read SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) RNA levels were similar in patient saliva and nasal swabs, and viral loads measured by RT-PCR and the smartphone-read CRISPR assay demonstrated good correlation, supporting the potential use of this portable assay for saliva-based point-of-care COVID-19 diagnosis. 
    more » « less
  3. Rapid and ultrasensitive point-of-care RNA detection plays a critical role in the diagnosis and management of various infectious diseases. The gold-standard detection method of reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is ultrasensitive and accurate yet limited by the lengthy turnaround time (1-2 days). On the other hand, antigen test offers rapid at-home detection (15-20 min) but suffers from low sensitivity and high false-negative rates. An ideal point-of-care diagnostic device would combine the merits of PCR-level sensitivity and rapid sample-to-result workflow comparable to antigen testing. However, the existing RNA detection platform typically possesses superior sensitivity or rapid sample-to-result time, but not both. This paper reports a point-of-care microfluidic device that offers ultrasensitive yet rapid detection of viral RNA from clinical samples. The device consists of a microfluidic chip for precisely manipulating small volumes of samples, a miniaturized heater for viral lysis and ribonuclease (RNase) inactivation, a CRISPR Cas13a- electrochemical sensor for target preamplification-free and ultrasensitive RNA detection, and a smartphone-compatible potentiostat for data acquisition. As demonstrations, the devices achieve the detection of heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 samples with a limit of detection (LOD) down to 10 aM within 25 minutes, which is comparable to the sensitivity of RT-PCR and rapidness of antigen test. The platform also successfully distinguishes all nine positive unprocessed clinical SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab samples from four negative samples within 25 minutes of sample-to-result time. Together, this device provides a point-of-care solution that can be deployed in diverse settings beyond laboratory environments for rapid and accurate detection of RNA from clinical samples. The device can potentially be expandable to detect other viral targets, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing and Zika virus, where rapid and ultrasensitive point-of-care detection is required. 
    more » « less
  4. Dai, Tianhong ; Wu, Mei X. ; Popp, Jürgen (Ed.)
    The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has revealed the need for rapid and inexpensive diagnostic testing to enable population-based screening for active infection. Neither standard diagnostic testing, the detection and measurement of viral RNA (via polymerase chain reaction), or serological testing (via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) has the capability to definitively determine active infection. The former due to a lack of ability to distinguish between replicable and inert viral RNA, and the latter due to varying immune responses (ranging from latent to a complete lack of immune response altogether). Despite many companies producing rapid point-of-care (POC) tests, none will address the global scale of testing needed and few help to combat the ever growing issue of testing resource scarcity. Here we discuss our efforts towards the development of a highly manufacturable, microfluidic device that instantly indicates active viral infection status from ~ 20 μL of nasal mucus or phlegm and requires no external power. The device features a biotin functionalized silicon nanomembrane within an acrylic body containing channels and ports for sample introduction and analysis. Virus capture and target confirmation are done using affinity-based capture and size-based occlusion respectively. Modularity of the device is proven with bead and vaccinia virus capture as we work towards testing with both pure SARS-CoV-2 virus and human samples. With success on all fronts, we could achieve an inexpensive POC diagnostic which can determine an individual’s infection status, aiding containment efforts in the current and future pandemics. In addition to direct viral detection, our method can be used as a rapid POC sample preparation tool that limits the application of PCR reagents to those samples which already display viral size and antigen-based positivity through our device. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Access to fast and reliable nucleic acid testing continues to play a key role in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the context of increased vaccine break-through risks due to new variants. We report a rapid, low-cost (~ 2 USD), simple-to-use nucleic acid test kit for self-administered at-home testing without lab instrumentation. The entire sample-to-answer workflow takes < 60 min, including noninvasive sample collection, one-step RNA preparation, reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) in a thermos, and direct visual inspection of a colorimetric test result. To facilitate long-term storage without cold-chain, a fast one-pot lyophilization protocol was developed to preserve all required biochemical reagents of the colorimetric RT-LAMP test in a single microtube. Notably, the lyophilized RT-LAMP assay demonstrated reduced false positives as well as enhanced tolerance to a wider range of incubation temperatures compared to solution-based RT-LAMP reactions. We validated our RT-LAMP assay using simulated infected samples, and detected a panel of SARS-CoV-2 variants with successful detection of all variants that were available to us at the time. With a simple change of the primer set, our lyophilized RT-LAMP home test can be easily adapted as a low-cost surveillance platform for other pathogens and infectious diseases of global public health importance.

    more » « less