Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microfluidic chip developed to stem flu outbreaks

Date:
March 27, 2012
Source:
Boston University College of Engineering
Summary:
Researchers have developed a rapid, low-cost, accurate, point-of-care device that matches the accuracy of expensive and time-consuming lab-based tests to diagnose influenza.

The chip accepts a nasal specimen, extracts influenza A RNA, converts it into DNA and replicates it to yield a sufficient sample that can be detected by an external reader.
Credit: Boston University

The novel H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009 underscored weaknesses in methods widely used to diagnose the flu, from frequent false negatives to long wait times for results. Now a four-year, National Institutes of Health-funded study of 146 patients with flu-like symptoms spearheaded by Associate Professor Catherine Klapperich (BME, MSE) has validated a prototype rapid, low-cost, accurate, point-of-care device that promises a better standard of care. Once optimized and deployed in the clinic, the new device could provide clinicians with an effective tool to quickly diagnose both seasonal and pandemic strains of influenza, and thus limit the spread of infection.

The study's research team -- Klapperich, Qingqing Cao(ME PhD'11), Madhumita Mahalanabis(BME postdoctoral fellow), Jessie Chang (BME MS'10), Brendan Carey (BME'11), Christopher Hsieh (BME'11) and Ahjegannie Stanley (summer intern) from the College of Engineering; medical personnel from the Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) Emergency Department; and an infectious disease physician from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)/ Harvard Medical School -- published its findings in the March 22 online edition of PLoS ONE.

To produce a faster, cheaper, highly accurate flu diagnostic test that could be run at the point of care, the researchers miniaturized an expensive, three-hour, lab-scale diagnostic test -- known as RT-PCR and now considered the gold standard in flu detection -- into a single-use microfluidic chip. About the size of a standard microscope slide, the integrated chip consists of a column at the top that extracts RNA from signature proteins in the sample associated with the influenza A virus; a middle chamber that converts the RNA into DNA; and a climate-controlled lower channel used to replicate the DNA in sufficient quantities so it can be detected by an external reader.

Working with two types of nasal specimens, the researchers used the chip to produce results that matched the high accuracy and relatively fast turn-around time of the lab-scale method.

"We wanted to show that our technique was feasible on real-world samples prepared on the chip," said Klapperich. "Making each chip single-use decreases the possibility of cross-contamination between specimens, and the chip's small size makes it a good candidate for true point-of-care testing."

The microfluidic chip also proved far more effective than other commonly used flu diagnostic tests including viral culture, a lab procedure requiring up to a week to produce results; rapid immunoassays, which work like pregnancy tests but were only 40 percent reliable in detecting the presence of a flu virus in this study; and direct fluorescent antigen testing (DFA), a more accurate but labor-intensive process in which medical personnel prepare and interpret samples stained with fluorescent antibodies.

"The new test represents a major improvement over viral culture in terms of turn-around time, over rapid immunoassay tests in terms of sensitivity (ability to detect the virus from minimal sample material) and over DFA and RT-PCR in terms of ease of use and portability," Klapperich observed.

Ultimately seeking to enable clinicians to use their microfluidic chips for frontline flu virus detection, the researchers next plan to optimize their method so that it can produce results in a third less time (an hour) with chips that cost half as much to make (five dollars). In addition, they are exploring ways to develop a lower cost external reader that's no bigger than a clinical digital thermometer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University College of Engineering. The original article was written by Mark Dwortzan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Qingqing Cao, Madhumita Mahalanabis, Jessie Chang, Brendan Carey, Christopher Hsieh, Ahjegannie Stanley, Christine A. Odell, Patricia Mitchell, James Feldman, Nira R. Pollock, Catherine M. Klapperich. Microfluidic Chip for Molecular Amplification of Influenza A RNA in Human Respiratory Specimens. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (3): e33176 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033176

Cite This Page:

Boston University College of Engineering. "Microfluidic chip developed to stem flu outbreaks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327124858.htm>.
Boston University College of Engineering. (2012, March 27). Microfluidic chip developed to stem flu outbreaks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327124858.htm
Boston University College of Engineering. "Microfluidic chip developed to stem flu outbreaks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120327124858.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins