DOI: 10.3390/bios14010002 ISSN: 2079-6374

An Integrated ddPCR Lab-on-a-Disc Device for Rapid Screening of Infectious Diseases

Wanyi Zhang, Lili Cui, Yuye Wang, Zhenming Xie, Yuanyuan Wei, Shaodi Zhu, Mehmood Nawaz, Wing-Cheung Mak, Ho-Pui Ho, Dayong Gu, Shuwen Zeng
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • General Medicine
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Instrumentation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

Digital droplet PCR (ddPCR) is a powerful amplification technique for absolute quantification of viral nucleic acids. Although commercial ddPCR devices are effective in the lab bench tests, they cannot meet current urgent requirements for on-site and rapid screening for patients. Here, we have developed a portable and fully integrated lab-on-a-disc (LOAD) device for quantitively screening infectious disease agents. Our designed LOAD device has integrated (i) microfluidics chips, (ii) a transparent circulating oil-based heat exchanger, and (iii) an on-disc transmitted-light fluorescent imaging system into one compact and portable box. Thus, droplet generation, PCR thermocycling, and analysis can be achieved in a single LOAD device. This feature is a significant attribute for the current clinical application of disease screening. For this custom-built ddPCR setup, we have first demonstrated the loading and ddPCR amplification ability by using influenza A virus-specific DNA fragments with different concentrations (diluted from the original concentration to 107 times), followed by analyzing the droplets with an external fluorescence microscope as a standard calibration test. The measured DNA concentration is linearly related to the gradient–dilution factor, which validated the precise quantification for the samples. In addition to the calibration tests using DNA fragments, we also employed this ddPCR-LOAD device for clinical samples with different viruses. Infectious samples containing five different viruses, including influenza A virus (IAV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), varicella zoster virus (VZV), Zika virus (ZIKV), and adenovirus (ADV), were injected into the device, followed by analyzing the droplets with an external fluorescence microscope with the lowest detected concentration of 20.24 copies/µL. Finally, we demonstrated the proof-of-concept detection of clinical samples of IAV using the on-disc fluorescence imaging system in our fully integrated device, which proves the capability of this device in clinical sample detection. We anticipate that this integrated ddPCR-LOAD device will become a flexible tool for on-site disease detection.

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