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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. Rapid identification of newly emerging or circulating viruses is an important first step toward managing the public health response to potential outbreaks. A portable virus capture device, coupled with label-free Raman spectroscopy, holds the promise of fast detection by rapidly obtaining the Raman signature of a virus followed by a machine learning (ML) approach applied to recognize the virus based on its Raman spectrum, which is used as a fingerprint. We present such an ML approach for analyzing Raman spectra of human and avian viruses. A convolutional neural network (CNN) classifier specifically designed for spectral data achieves very high accuracy for a variety of virus type or subtype identification tasks. In particular, it achieves 99% accuracy for classifying influenza virus type A versus type B, 96% accuracy for classifying four subtypes of influenza A, 95% accuracy for differentiating enveloped and nonenveloped viruses, and 99% accuracy for differentiating avian coronavirus (infectious bronchitis virus [IBV]) from other avian viruses. Furthermore, interpretation of neural net responses in the trained CNN model using a full-gradient algorithm highlights Raman spectral ranges that are most important to virus identification. By correlating ML-selected salient Raman ranges with the signature ranges of known biomolecules and chemical functional groups—for example, amide, amino acid, and carboxylic acid—we verify that our ML model effectively recognizes the Raman signatures of proteins, lipids, and other vital functional groups present in different viruses and uses a weighted combination of these signatures to identify viruses. 
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  3. Emerging and reemerging viruses are responsible for a number of recent epidemic outbreaks. A crucial step in predicting and controlling outbreaks is the timely and accurate characterization of emerging virus strains. We present a portable microfluidic platform containing carbon nanotube arrays with differential filtration porosity for the rapid enrichment and optical identification of viruses. Different emerging strains (or unknown viruses) can be enriched and identified in real time through a multivirus capture component in conjunction with surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. More importantly, after viral capture and detection on a chip, viruses remain viable and get purified in a microdevice that permits subsequent in-depth characterizations by various conventional methods. We validated this platform using different subtypes of avian influenza A viruses and human samples with respiratory infections. This technology successfully enriched rhinovirus, influenza virus, and parainfluenza viruses, and maintained the stoichiometric viral proportions when the samples contained more than one type of virus, thus emulating coinfection. Viral capture and detection took only a few minutes with a 70-fold enrichment enhancement; detection could be achieved with as little as 10 2 EID 50 /mL (50% egg infective dose per microliter), with a virus specificity of 90%. After enrichment using the device, we demonstrated by sequencing that the abundance of viral-specific reads significantly increased from 4.1 to 31.8% for parainfluenza and from 0.08 to 0.44% for influenza virus. This enrichment method coupled to Raman virus identification constitutes an innovative system that could be used to quickly track and monitor viral outbreaks in real time. 
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