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Paper-based diagnostics, made with a scrapbooking tool, could curb hepatitis C pandemic

Date:
May 21, 2014
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
To the relief of patients diagnosed with hepatitis C, the US Food and Drug Administration approved two new treatments late last year, and a few more are on the way. Now scientists are solving another side of the disease's problem: identifying the millions more who have the virus but don't know it -- and unwittingly pass it on. A new report describes a novel, scrapbook-inspired test that does just that.

Scientists have developed a novel paper-based, rapid diagnostic test for hepatitis C.
Credit: American Chemical Society

To the relief of patients diagnosed with hepatitis C, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two new treatments late last year, and a few more are on the way. Now scientists are solving another side of the disease's problem: identifying the millions more who have the virus but don't know it -- and unwittingly pass it on. A report in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry describes a novel, scrapbook-inspired test that does just that.

Xuan Mu, Zhi Zheng and colleagues point out that the hepatitis C virus (HCV), a blood-borne pathogen that can cause liver cirrhosis, cancer and even death, kills more people in the U.S. than HIV. It also infects an estimated 150 million people around the world. Although diagnostic tests exist, they require an initial screening and then a costly second test for confirmation. The extra office visits, money and time required for a definitive diagnosis means a lot of people simply can't or won't follow up. To make diagnosis more accessible, the researchers took advantage of the recent development of new, inexpensive paper-based medical technologies and applied it to HCV screening.

Taking a page from the popular scrapbooking pastime, the scientists used a flower-shaped metal paper cutter to punch out shapes from special paper for their diagnostic test. The method solves the problem of patterning the paper, made of nitrocellulose -- a highly flammable substance -- without using heat. They add antigens, antibodies and other chemicals to the paper to test patient samples. With one flower-shaped paper, they can conduct both HCV tests on a sample simultaneously in just minutes, instead of hours.

The authors acknowledge support from the National Scientific and Technological Major Project of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xuan Mu, Lin Zhang, Shaoying Chang, Wei Cui, Zhi Zheng. Multiplex Microfluidic Paper-based Immunoassay for the Diagnosis of Hepatitis C Virus Infection. Analytical Chemistry, 2014; 140513101712000 DOI: 10.1021/ac500247f

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Paper-based diagnostics, made with a scrapbooking tool, could curb hepatitis C pandemic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133702.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2014, May 21). Paper-based diagnostics, made with a scrapbooking tool, could curb hepatitis C pandemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133702.htm
American Chemical Society. "Paper-based diagnostics, made with a scrapbooking tool, could curb hepatitis C pandemic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140521133702.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

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