Development of a microfluidic point-of-care diagnostic device for the discrimination between viral and bacterial infections as a means to reduce antibiotic resistance

The discrimination between viral and bacterial infections has long been a goal in the field of point-of-care (PoC) diagnostics. Such a diagnostic tool would prevent the over-prescription of antibiotics, a leading cause of antimicrobial resistance. Current standard methods involve sending patient samples (throat swabs, blood, urine) to specialized clinical labs. This usually involves expensive and time-consuming protein biomarker assays to identify the cause of infection. However, this technique suffers from poor specificity and sensitivity, and does not provide a measure of antimicrobial susceptibility in the event of a bacterial infection. The herein proposed PoC device leverages new advances in DNA amplification technologies to provide a rapid, facile and non-expensive method of bacterial/viral discrimination through genetic target identification, without the need for benchtop instrumentation. This is accomplished employing a flocculation assay coupled with magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs). Briefly, a novel DNA amplification technology (namely LAMP) is performed along with MNPs functionalized with biomolecular probes against the target. As the target’s genetic material gets amplify, MNPs become incorporated in it, resulting in MNP agglutination. When magnetic capture is performed, the MNPs align forming a distinct strip pattern indicating a positive signal. In the absence of assemblies, MNPs remain dispersed, indicating a negative signal.

Faculty Supervisor:

Maryam Tabrizian


Francisico Castiello






Professional, scientific and technical services


McGill University



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