Microfluidic Flu Chip Paper Published in PLoS ONE
A rapid, low cost, accurate point-of-care (POC) device to detect influenza virus is needed for effective treatment and control of both seasonal and pandemic strains. We developed a single-use microfluidic chip that integrates solid phase extraction (SPE) and molecular amplification via a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to amplify influenza virus type A RNA. We demonstrated the ability of the chip to amplify influenza A RNA in human nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) and nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) specimens collected at two clinical sites from 2008–2010. The microfluidic test was dramatically more sensitive than two currently used rapid immunoassays and had high specificity that was essentially equivalent to the rapid assays and direct fluorescent antigen (DFA) testing. The microfluidic test extracted and amplified influenza A RNA directly from clinical specimens with viral loads down to 103 copies/ml in 3 h or less. The new test represents a major improvement over viral culture in terms of turn around time, over rapid immunoassay tests in terms of sensitivity, and over bench top RT-PCR and DFA in terms of ease of use and portability.