Pillar 3

Readily available, accurate, rapid diagnostic technologies will be needed to contain emerging and re-emerging pandemics. Although nucleic acid amplification assays (PCR) are the current gold standard, they require lengthy preparatory steps.

We developed QolorEX, a novel lab-on-chip device with embedded nanostructured sensors for rapid RNA/DNA amplification at single nucleotide resolution. Combined with colorimetric sensing and machine learning-assisted analysis, this device is an automated diagnostic platform for multiplexed amplification.

In lab tests, we demonstrated the versatility of QolorEX by detecting SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, H1N1, influenza A, and bacteria at the single nucleotide polymorphism level. For COVID-19 saliva samples, we observed an accuracy of 95% on par with quantitative PCR. Our results indicate that QolorEX can advance the monitoring and rapid diagnosis of pathogens and contribute to our arsenal of pandemic preparedness tools.

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Nanoplasmonic amplification in microfluidics enables accelerated colorimetric quantification of nucleic acid biomarkers from pathogens. Tamer AbdElFatah, Mahsa Jalali, Sripadh Guptha Yedire, Imman Isaac Hosseini, Shahabadi Vahid, Caroline del Real Mata, Haleema Khan, S.V. Hamidi, Olivia Jeanne, Roozbeh Siavash Moakhar, Myles McLean, Dhanesh Patel, Zhen Wang, Geoffrey McKay, Mitra Yousefi, Silvia Vidal, Chen Liang, Sara Mahshid. Nature Nanotechnology. 2023.06.01.001384-5; https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-023-01384-5