Abstract: My goal is to enable the early and rapid detection of infectious diseases by developing extremely low cost, high specificity and ultra-high sensitivity plastic chips. Saliva can thus be rapidly analyzed for important protein markers with low-powered, inexpensive off the shelf components. Early, rapid, and quantitative detection would enable pathogens to be identified at the patients'locale, triggering of surveillance alerts, administration of proper treatment, and containment of the infectious disease. With adequate tools, one could identify different pathogen strains, patterns of drug resistance, and sources of outbreaks. Detection, diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance of infectious diseases in the developing world is critical to universal public health. Early detection enables prompt and more effective treatments, contains the spread of diseases, and reduces the cost to public resources on ineffective responses. The goal of this proposal is to develop and deploy my chips for the detection of the infectious and deadly rotavirus disease. While traditional optical detection is expensive with power-hungry analytical instrumentations inappropriate for point of care (POC) in developing countries, I seek to provide a low-cost portable system (with laser diode and photo-detector for <$100) with disposable robust plastic chips (with integrated metallic nanostructures for surface enhanced sensing) that can be manufactured for less than $0.20 a piece would enable true POC diagnostics for developing countries. Because the detection is based on antibody capture, this device could be used to diagnose almost any known infectious disease. These modular microfluidic-based components would allow multiplex testing as well, enabling the detection of infections as well as co-infections by examining a panel of protein markers in saliva. My unique integrated nanostructures within these chips enhance the signal by several thousand folds, enabling ultra-high sensitivity immunoassays.
Early detection of infectious diseases enables prompt and more effective treatments, contains the spread of diseases, reduces the cost of public resources on ineffective responses, and alerts us of emerging diseases. A versatile and field-rugged platform technology that is widely deployable yet sensitive and robust enough to be efficacious in detecting specific infections and co-infections at their very onset is needed.
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