AsianScientist (Sep. 21, 2017) – In a study published in the journal ACS Sensors, scientists in Taiwan have invented a paper-based test that can be read by a smartphone to identify tuberculosis (TB) infections.
In 2015, the World Health Organization estimates that 1.4 million people died from TB, with most of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Early diagnosis could help curb these numbers. But conventional methods such as sputum smear microscopy, chest X-rays and molecular-based tests require equipment, electricity and specialized personnel that are not always available in remote or developing areas.
In this study, a research team led by Professor Chen Chien-Fu at National Taiwan University have developed a more practical diagnostic test for TB that can be read with a smartphone. The researchers combined gold nanoparticles with single-stranded DNA sequences that bind to the genetic material of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause TB. These nanoparticles were then incorporated into a paper-based device.
Adding even a small amount of lab-derived, double-stranded DNA from M. tuberculosis changed the color of the test spots within an hour. A smartphone camera was used to analyze the color change to determine the bacterial concentration. The researchers also tested a tissue sample from an infected patient to further demonstrate that the device could be used in the field.
The article can be found at: Tsai et al. (2017) Diagnosis of Tuberculosis Using Colorimetric Gold Nanoparticles on a Paper-Based Analytical Device.
Source: American Chemical Society; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.