Noroviruses, belonging to the family Caliciviridae, are highly infectious agents that cause acute gastroenteritis in both children and adults worldwide. They are increasingly recognized as a major source of diarrheal illness in hospitals, long-term care facilities, day care centers and among travelers; yet, access to routine diagnostic tests remains limited. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a rapid diagnostic system for detection of noroviruses that can be employed at the point-of-need.
Our approach capitalizes upon recent advances in the fabrication of low-cost microfluidic devices using patterned paper as an instrument-free platform for sophisticated biological assays. These devices are known as microfluidic paper analytical devices (µPADs) or two-dimensional paper networks (2DPNs). In these devices, capillary action draws fluids through the channels eliminating the need for expensive pumps and fluid handling equipment found in traditional microfluidic devices.
Advantages of these devices for point-of-care applications include:
- Low cost fabrication
- Capillary-driven fluid flow
- Minimal sample preparation
- Simple colorimetric read-out
This work was recently highlighted in an ad for Texas State University in the magazine Texas Monthly.
Funding for this work is provided by the Western Regional Center for Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Disease Research (WRCE) (NIH/NIAID U54A1057156)