Tokyo, July 1
Japanese researchers have developed a new antibody-based method for the rapid and reliable detection of SARS-CoV-2 that does not require a blood sample.
Inefficient identification of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 has severely limited the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the high rate of asymptomatic infections (16-38%) has exacerbated this situation, the authorities said. researchers.
One of the methods of confirming COVID-19 infection involves the detection of antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2.
Gold nanoparticle test strips are currently widely used for point-of-care testing in many countries.
These tests produce sensitive and reliable results in 10 to 20 minutes, but they require blood samples taken by finger prick using a lancing device.
This is painful and increases the risk of infection or cross-contamination, and the kit components used pose a potential biohazard risk, the researchers said.
“To develop a minimally invasive detection test that would avoid these drawbacks, we explored the idea of sampling and testing interstitial fluid (ISF), which is located in the epidermis and dermis layers of human skin. “said Leilei Bao of the University of Tokyo.
“Although antibody levels in ISF are approximately 15-25% of those in blood, it was still possible that anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgG antibodies could be detected and that ISF could act as a direct blood substitute. sampling,” said Bao, lead author of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
After demonstrating that ISF could be suitable for antibody detection, the researchers developed an innovative approach to sample and test ISF.
“First, we developed biodegradable polylactic acid porous microneedles that scavenge ISF from human skin,” said Beomjoon Kim, lead author of the study.
“Next, we constructed a paper-based immunoassay biosensor for the detection of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies,” Kim said.
By integrating these two elements, the researchers created a compact patch capable of detecting antibodies on the spot in three minutes.
This new detection device has great potential for the rapid detection of COVID-19 and many other infectious diseases, and is safe and acceptable to patients, the researchers said.
It shows promise for use in many countries, regardless of wealth, which is a key goal for global infectious disease management, they added.