Research ArticleDiagnostics

A digital microfluidic system for serological immunoassays in remote settings

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Science Translational Medicine  25 Apr 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 438, eaar6076
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aar6076

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A fluid transition into the field

Many point-of-care diagnostics rely on lateral flow assays or microfluidics; however, these methods generally cannot test multiple samples simultaneously. Ng et al. optimized inkjet-printed digital microfluidic (DMF) cartridges and a portable control system to perform serological immunoassays in remote settings. DMF devices use electrostatic forces to mix and separate reagents and samples in small droplets of fluids. The DMF system measured IgG antibodies for measles and rubella from human blood samples obtained from adults and children on-site in a refugee camp in Kenya. Four samples could be tested simultaneously, although DMF IgG detection was less sensitive and specific than laboratory-based ELISA testing of matched serum samples. The emergence of this field-compatible technology brings with it new tools for advancing global health.