American Chemical Society
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Gravity-Driven Microfluidic Siphons: Fluidic Characterization and Application to Quantitative Immunoassays

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-12-02, 16:16 authored by Nuno M. Reis, Sarah H. Needs, Sophie M. Jegouic, Kirandeep K. Gill, Sirintra Sirivisoot, Scott Howard, Jack Kempe, Shaan Bola, Kareem Al-Hakeem, Ian M. Jones, Tanapan Prommool, Prasit Luangaram, Panisadee Avirutnan, Chunya Puttikhunt, Alexander D. Edwards
A range of biosensing techniques including immunoassays are routinely used for quantitation of analytes in biological samples and available in a range of formats, from centralized lab testing (e.g., microplate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)) to automated point-of-care (POC) and lateral flow immunochromatographic tests. High analytical performance is intrinsically linked to the use of a sequence of reagent and washing steps, yet this is extremely challenging to deliver at the POC without a high level of fluidic control involving, e.g., automation, fluidic pumping, or manual fluid handling/pipetting. Here we introduce a microfluidic siphon concept that conceptualizes a multistep ″dipstick″ for quantitative, enzymatically amplified immunoassays using a strip of microporous or microbored material. We demonstrated that gravity-driven siphon flow can be realized in single-bore glass capillaries, a multibored microcapillary film, and a glass fiber porous membrane. In contrast to other POC devices proposed to date, the operation of the siphon is only dependent on the hydrostatic liquid pressure (gravity) and not capillary forces, and the unique stepwise approach to the delivery of the sample and immunoassay reagents results in zero dead volume in the device, no reagent overlap or carryover, and full start/stop fluid control. We demonstrated applications of a 10-bore microfluidic siphon as a portable ELISA system without compromised quantitative capabilities in two global diagnostic applications: (1) a four-plex sandwich ELISA for rapid smartphone dengue serotype identification by serotype-specific dengue virus NS1 antigen detection, relevant for acute dengue fever diagnosis, and (2) quantitation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM titers in spiked serum samples. Diagnostic siphons provide the opportunity for high-performance immunoassay testing outside sophisticated laboratories, meeting the rapidly changing global clinical and public health needs.