Zika Virus Detection Using Smartphone Based NBC Detection Tool

July 6, 2018  Source: The Verge 233

A scientific team from Brigham Women’s Hospital (BWH) in the US are developing an innovative way to diagnose Zika virus quickly and accurately using mhealth technologies, in order for it to be used in resource-limited conditions. The study has been published in the journal ACS Nano. This user-friendly tool can be used to test for couples located in an infection prone areas who are planning to conceive.

Dr. Hadi Shafiee, the  BWH principal investigator and corresponding author said, “Zika diagnostics represent an urgent need in many parts of the world. Our goal is to address this unmet clinical need using cell phone-based technology. Cell phones have the power to perform complicated analyses, handle image processing, take high-quality images, and are ubiquitous in Zika-afflicted countries. We can leverage this to address outbreaks of infectious disease.”

Using nanotechnology, the research team developed tiny platinum nanomotors to target Zika and microbeads to bind the virus. When they are added to a sample containing Zika, a 3D complex is formed which moves in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. This unique motion signal can be perceived using a smartphone by attaching it to a cost-effective optical device. The 3D Zika complex moves rapidly compared to the slower movement of other non-target viruses.

This mechanism is called the nanomotor-based bead-motion cellphone (NBC) system, which could detect Zika in samples where the viral concentration is as low as one particle per microlitre. This system is so specific that it is able to detect Zika even in the presence of other viruses.

Dr. Mohamed Shehata Draz, the lead author said “The NBC system has the potential to be used at the point of care for disease detection in both developed and developing countries. This is an important way to eliminate the social stress related to Zika virus infection and health problems specifically related to newborns.”

By Ddu