NYMC Faculty Publications


Unamplified RNA Sensor for On-Site Screening of Zika Virus Disease in a Limited Resource Setting

Document Type


Publication Date

March 2017


Microbiology and Immunology


Recent outbreaks of Zika virus have been declared a public health emergency of international concern. The diagnosis of Zika infection is based on a person's recent travel history, symptoms, and laboratory test results. However, the diagnosis of Zika infection may be delayed because symptoms are often mild and nondescript, and confirmatory laboratory tests are relatively time-consuming and expensive. Given the lack of an effective vaccine against Zika virus, and a relatively short period of viremia, developing a rapid and sensitive means of detecting the Zika virus in serum is a public health priority. This work presents a novel RNA sensor, based on a sequence-specific probe and AC electrokinetics-enhanced capacitive sensing technology to directly capture and detect Zika virus RNA. This method allows detection and quantification of Zika virus RNA in only 30seconds, with a low limit of detection (LOD) reaching 158.1copies/L. The sensor is also tested for its specificity, showing no false-positive signals from other viruses. In addition, the biosensor is portable, inexpensive, and simple to use, without the need of signal amplification, which makes it ideal for field applications.