Global Validation of the Nano-enabled Biosensor for Rapid Diagnosis and Surveillance of Infectious Diseases

E.C. Alocilja
Michigan State University,
United States

Keywords: nanoparticles, biosensor, tuberculosis


Infectious diseases can have catastrophic consequences. Furthermore, disease-causing microorganisms are adapting rapidly and have facilitated the return of old infections or the emergence of new ones. With global travel and trade, communicable diseases can transfer from one location to another in an instance and many of these pandemic strains have no treatment. Then there’s the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Countries are interested in preventing infectious diseases from entering and causing an outbreak and in detecting these disease outbreaks early enough to stop mortality, spread, and potential impact on trade and tourism. Many of the infectious diseases originate from rural areas where resources are scarce and health infrastructure is limited. For many of these communities, current diagnostic methods are too expensive, too complex, too slow, and too impractical. In this paper, we describe a low-cost, field operable, simple to use, rapid response nano-biosensor technology that enables a global effort to monitor disease infection in various sectors: health, animal, and wildlife. The long-term goal is to establish a global partnership in biosensor-based surveillance where participating scientists from various countries have common commitments. We will describe the nano-biosensor technology, approach, and results. We will also discuss important lessons learned in the validation process. Briefly, the biosensing protocol involves a two-step process: triage “infected/not infected” assay in 10 min followed by a PCR-free DNA-based confirmation in 2 hours. Our preliminary data show that the 10-min triage costs less than $0.05 per test and the confirmatory DNA assay costs about $2 per test. If successful, this technology could lead to improvements in clinical outcomes for patients, antimicrobial stewardship, detection and tracking of disease outbreaks, understanding disease circulation, and the investigation of emerging pathogens. Furthermore, it will be able to forecast diseases faster than current biosurveillance systems, resulting in the saving of lives, prevention of lifelong disabilities, and prioritization of proactive disease prevention and control strategies.