Nav: Home

PolyU develops novel nano biosensor for rapid detection of flu virus

March 14, 2016

PolyU's new invention utilizes an optical method called upconversion luminescence resonance energy transfer (LRET) process for ultrasensitive virus detection. It involves simple operational procedures, significantly reducing its testing duration from around 1-3 days to 2-3 hours, making it more than 10 times quicker than traditional clinical methods. Its cost is around HK$20 per sample, which is 80% lower than traditional testing methods. The technology can be widely used for the detection of different types of viruses, shedding new light on the development of low-cost, rapid and ultrasensitive detection of different viruses.

Traditional biological methods for flu virus detection include genetic analysis -- reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) used in immunology. However, RT-PCR is expensive and time-consuming while the sensitivity for ELISA is relatively low. Such limitations make them difficult for clinical use as a front-line and on-site diagnostic tool for virus detection, paving the way for PolyU's development of the new upconversion nanoparticle biosensor which utilizes luminescent technique in virus detection.

PolyU's researchers have developed a biosensor based on luminescent technique which operates like two matching pieces of magnet with attraction force. It involves the development of upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) conjugated with a probe oligo whose DNA base pairs are complementary with that of the gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) flu virus oligo. Given the complementary nature of the DNA base pairs of the UCNPs probe oligo and AuNPs flu virus oligo, they work like two matching pieces of magnet, which would be drawn together due to attraction force. This process is also called oligo hybridization. Upon being illuminated by a portable near-infrared laser pen, the UCNPs emit eye-visible green light while the AuNPs would absorb the green light. One can easily quantify the concentration of the targeted flu virus by measuring the decrease in the green light intensity.

Initially, PolyU researchers have utilized upconversion LRET for ultrasensitive virus detection in liquid phase system. The research team has further improved the sensitivity of the luminescent detection method by utilizing a solid phased nanoporous membrane system (NAAO) for virus detection. As NAAO membrane consists of many hollow channels, they allow more space for oligo hybridization to take place, significantly increasing its sensitivity by more than 10 folds compared to the liquid phase system, proven by clinical detection using inactivated virus samples.

Not only is the design and operation of PolyU's invention simple, it does not require expensive instruments and sophisticated operational skills, with its sensitivity comparable to traditional clinical methods. In comparison to conventional downconversion luminescent technique, it causes low damage to genetic materials and does not induce background fluorescence. In addition, since each virus has a unique genetic sequence, researchers would be able to design a complementary probe once the genetic sequence of the targeted virus is known. In other words, the upconversion LRET technology can be widely used for the detection of different types of viruses simply by modifying the UCNPs capture probe.

The related results have been recently published in ACS Nano and Small, two leading journals in nano material research. With the support from the Innovation and Technology Support Programme, the research team will continue to enhance the nano biosensor for rapid virus detection, which includes increasing its sensitivity and specificity, and developing a matrix for detection of multiple flu viruses on a single testing platform.
-end-


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Related Virus Articles:

New insights into how the Zika virus causes microcephaly
Scientists have uncovered why Zika virus may specifically target neural stem cells in the developing brain, potentially leading to microcephaly.
New Zika virus inhibitor identified
Compound could serve as basis for drugs to prevent neurological complications of Zika.
Zeroing in on the Zika virus
Hobman has been announced as one of three Canadian scientists who have received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for their teams to study the Zika virus.
What does it take for an AIDS virus to infect a person?
Researchers examined the characteristics of HIV-1 strains that were successful in traversing the genital mucosa that forms a boundary to entry by viruses and bacteria.
Cough virus kills liver cancer cells and hepatitis virus
A virus that causes childhood coughs and colds could help in the fight against primary liver cancer, according to a study.
Characterizing the Zika virus genome
The sudden emergence of the Zika virus epidemic in Latin America in 2015-16 has caught the scientific world unawares.
Discovery of new Hepatitis C virus mechanism
Researchers at Osaka University, Japan uncovered the mechanisms that suppress the propagation of the hepatitis C virus with the potential of improving pathological liver conditions.
What does Zika virus mean for the children of the Americas?
A special communication article published online by JAMA Pediatrics explores whether new paradigms in child health may emerge because of Zika virus.
Predicting the spread of the Zika virus
A new tool by Japan-based researchers predicts the risk of Zika virus importation and local transmission for 189 countries.
An old new weapon against emerging Chikungunya virus
Researchers utilize existing drugs to interfere with host factors required for replication of Chikungunya virus.

Related Virus Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".