The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak has prompted the need for field-ready diagnostics that are rapid, easy-to-use, handheld, and disposable while providing extreme sensitivity and specificity. To meet this demand, we developed a wax-printed paper microfluidic chip utilizing reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP). The developed simple and sensitive ZIKV assay was demonstrated using undiluted tap water, human urine, and diluted (10%) human blood plasma. Paper type, pore size, and channel dimension of various paper microfluidic chips were investigated and optimized to ensure proper filtration of direct-use biological samples (tap water, urine, and plasma) during capillary action-driven flow. Once ZIKV RNA has flowed and reached to a detection area of the paper microfluidic chip, it was excised for the addition of an RT-LAMP mixture with a pH indicator, then placed on a hot plate at 68 °C. Visible color changes from successful amplification were observed in 15 minutes and quantified by smartphone imaging. The limit of detection was as low as 1 copy/μL. The developed platform can also be used for identifying other flaviviruses, such as Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) and Dengue virus (DENV), and potentially other quickly transmitted virus pathogens, towards field-based diagnostics.
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