Continuous-flow qRT-PCR for rapid Ebola identification

1.1.2018

Research Scientists discuss the development of a low-cost POC RT-PCR platform that accomplishes the detection of RNA pathogens (Ebola, Zika, Chikungunya virus)

01.01.2018

Ultra-thin microfluidic chips are used to rapidly detect pathogens such as Ebola (inset).

RAPID ID OF EBOLA FOR LOW RESOURCE AREAS

A major challenge of diagnosing infectious diseases in low resource areas is a lack of fully equipped laboratories for quantitative detection of pathogens. Even in high resource areas such as cities in the U.S. can only make the numbers work by collecting hundreds of samples from the surrounding region and testing in high-volume batches. These barriers make point-of-care testing on the frontline of epidemic outbreaks extremely difficult. 

The team at Fraunhofer CMI set out to reduce some of these barriers by proving that pathogens can be detected in low-cost ultra-thin microfluidic platforms in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods. For their study, published in January 2018 of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, the team selected a fragment of Ebola that represented less than 0.6% of the total viral genome as the template. Samples were spiked with this fragment to safely mimic infected material with purified genomes for use in a continuous-flow qRT-PCR platform. They were able to rapidly detect Ebola fragments in just 30 minutes on a platform that is compatible with large-scale manufacturing—a critical parameter for getting these tests out into the field where they’re needed most. For the full article published in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, click here.