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Nature communications DOI:10.1038/ncomms2745

Magnetic barcode assay for genetic detection of pathogens.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLiong, M, Hoang, AN, Chung, J, Gural, N, Ford, CB, Min, C, Shah, RR, Ahmad, R, Fernandez-Suarez, M, Fortune, SM, Toner, M, Lee, H, Weissleder, R
JournalNature communications
Date Published2013/01/01

The task of rapidly identifying patients infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in resource-constrained environments remains a challenge. A sensitive and robust platform that does not require bacterial isolation or culture is critical in making informed diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. Here we introduce a platform for the detection of nucleic acids based on a magnetic barcoding strategy. PCR-amplified mycobacterial genes are sequence-specifically captured on microspheres, labelled by magnetic nanoprobes and detected by nuclear magnetic resonance. All components are integrated into a single, small fluidic cartridge for streamlined on-chip operation. We use this platform to detect M. tuberculosis and identify drug-resistance strains from mechanically processed sputum samples within 2.5 h. The specificity of the assay is confirmed by detecting a panel of clinically relevant non-M. tuberculosis bacteria, and the clinical utility is demonstrated by the measurements in M. tuberculosis-positive patient specimens. Combined with portable systems, the magnetic barcode assay holds promise to become a sensitive, high-throughput and low-cost platform for point-of-care diagnostics.