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Nipping flu pandemics in the bud

Date:
May 10, 2017
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The threat of a major flu pandemic is a perennial concern. Now scientists have developed a fast and easy-to-use point-of-care diagnostic test that could one day help doctors and hospitals head off the rapid spread of the flu.
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Scientists are developing a disposable, easy-to-use flu detector that yields visible results (inset) in about 35 minutes.
Credit: American Chemical Society

The threat of a major flu pandemic is a perennial concern. Now scientists have developed a fast and easy-to-use point-of-care diagnostic test that could one day help doctors and hospitals head off the rapid spread of the flu. They report their new device in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry.

The gold standard of flu diagnostics involves expensive techniques, laboratory facilities, trained personnel and, most importantly, time. However, patients and doctors often don't have time on their side because some strains, such as H5N1, can cause severe illness and even death. And even common strains can be deadly in the elderly and small children. Existing rapid diagnostic tests can help with diagnoses, but these tests require multiple processing steps that still need to be performed with lab equipment in specialized facilities. So Paul Yager and colleagues set out to create a simpler, low-cost device that can be used during an office or hospital visit without expensive instruments.

The researchers incorporated multiple steps of influenza detection -- viral lysis, target protein capture, labeling, rinsing and an enzyme-driven color change -- into one device. A user has to swab the inside of a patient's nose, then insert the swab into the device and twirl it for 10 seconds to release the virus. The device takes care of the rest. After about 35 minutes, it produces a visual readout that can be seen with the naked eye or captured with a smartphone camera. The researchers trained staff at a children's hospital to use the device, and they tested it on 25 patients during a flu outbreak. The device detected influenza A, one of the primary causes of moderate to severe flu epidemics, with 70 percent accuracy. The materials and reagents for one of these single-use devices cost less than $6.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Shichu Huang, Koji Abe, Steven Bennett, Tinny Liang, Paula D. Ladd, Lindsay Yokobe, Caitlin E. Anderson, Kamal Shah, Josh Bishop, Mike Purfield, Peter C. Kauffman, Sai Paul, AnneMarie E. Welch, Bonnie Strelitz, Kristin Follmer, Kelsey Pullar, Luis Sanchez-Erebia, Emily Gerth-Guyette, Gonzalo Domingo, Eileen Klein, Janet A. Englund, Elain Fu, Paul Yager. Disposable Autonomous Device for Swab-to-Result Diagnosis of Influenza. Analytical Chemistry, 2017; DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b04801

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Nipping flu pandemics in the bud." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 May 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170510115243.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2017, May 10). Nipping flu pandemics in the bud. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170510115243.htm
American Chemical Society. "Nipping flu pandemics in the bud." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170510115243.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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