Development of a Microfluidic Device for Detection of Pathogens in Oral Samples Using Upconverting Phosphor Technology (UPT)

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Confirmatory detection of diseases, such as HIV and HIV-associated pathogens in a rapid point-of-care (POC) diagnostic remains a goal for disease control, prevention, and therapy. If a sample could be analyzed onsite with a verified result, the individual could be counseled immediately and appropriate therapy initiated. Our group is focused on developing a microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” that will simultaneously identify antigens, antibodies, RNA, and DNA using a single oral sample. The approach has been to design individual modules for each assay that uses similar components (e.g., valves, heaters, metering chambers, mixers) installed on a polycarbonate base with a common reporter system. Assay miniaturization reduces the overall analysis time, increases accuracy by simultaneously identifying multiple targets, and enhances detector sensitivity by upconverting phosphor technology (UPT). Our microfluidic approach employs four interrelated components: (1) sample acquisition–OraSure UPlink™ collectors that pick-up and release bacteria, soluble analytes, and viruses from an oral sample; (2) microfluidic processing–movement of microliter volumes of analyte, target analyte extraction and amplification; (3) detection of analytes using UPT particles in a lateral flow system; and (4) software for processing the results. Ultimately, the oral-based microscale diagnostic system will detect viruses and bacteria, associated pathogen antigens and nucleic acids, and antibodies to these pathogens.

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