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

May 21, 2014
Paper-based diagnostics, made with a scrapbooking tool, could curb hepatitis C pandemic

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 , 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 . 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.

Explore further: Devices designed to identify pathogens in food

More information: "Multiplex Microfluidic Paper-based Immunoassay for the Diagnosis of Hepatitis C Virus Infection" Anal. Chem., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/ac500247f

Abstract
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a serious and rising global healthcare problem. One critical challenge to tackle this disease is the lack of adequate diagnosis. Here, we develop a multiplex microfluidic paper-based immunoassay, as a novel diagnostic approach, to detect human IgG antibody against HCV (anti-HCV). The paper substrate, highly flammable nitrocellulose (NC), is patterned under ambient temperature by craft punch patterning (CPP) to generate multiple test zones. On the basis of superior merits of patterned paper, this new diagnostic approach demonstrates the key novelty to unprecedentedly combine segmented diagnostic assays into a single multiplex test. The generated diagnostic results are not only informative but can be rapidly and cost-effectively delivered. It would significantly transform the clinical pathway for unwitting individuals with HCV infection. This work highlights the promising role of microfluidic paper-based immunoassays in tackling the diagnostic challenge for the HCV pandemic as well as other diseases.

Related Stories

New test IDs genotype of hepatitis C

Jun 20, 2013

(HealthDay)—A new test to help doctors identify the genotype of a person's hepatitis C infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Egyptians design 'faster, cheaper' hepatitis C test

Mar 14, 2012

The American University in Cairo said Wednesday that a team of its researchers has designed a faster and cheaper test for all types of hepatitis C, which it says affects about 10 million Egyptians.

New focus to combat rising liver disease

Jul 26, 2013

University of Adelaide researchers are investigating how the liver responds to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and why some people can control the virus while others can't. The aim is to find better therapies to combat hepatitis ...

To curb hepatitis C, test and treat inmates

May 14, 2014

Problematic as it is for society, the high incarceration rate in the United States presents an important public health opportunity, according to a new "Perspective" article in the New England Journal of Me ...

Hepatitis C virus: How viral proteins interact in human cells

May 08, 2014

Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have for the first time decrypted the interaction network of hepatitis C virus proteins in living human cells. Their findings will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms ...

Recommended for you

Devices designed to identify pathogens in food

May 27, 2015

Researchers at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico have developed a technology capable of identifying pathogens in food and beverages. This technique could work in the restaurant industry as ...

Biosensor may improve clinical diagnosis of influenza A

May 27, 2015

Sensors based on special sound waves known as surface acoustic waves (SAWs) are capable of detecting tiny amounts of antigens of Influenza A viruses. Developed by A*STAR researchers, the biosensors have the ...

New chip makes testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria faster, easier

May 26, 2015

We live in fear of 'superbugs': infectious bacteria that don't respond to treatment by antibiotics, and can turn a routine hospital stay into a nightmare. A 2015 Health Canada report estimates that superbugs have already cost Canadians $1 billion, and are a "serious and growing issue." Each year two million people in the U.S. contract antibiotic-re ...

Use your smartphone for biosensing

May 26, 2015

An Australian research team has shown that smartphones can be reconfigured as cost-effective, portable bioanalytical devices, with details reported in the latest edition of the Open Access Journal 'Sensors'.

Faster, portable microbial analysis in the field

May 25, 2015

Until recently, it took hours – sometimes days – to analyze biological samples after they were frozen in the field and brought back to the laboratory. But now there is a faster, cheaper and smaller way ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.