A versatile PDMS/paper hybrid microfluidic platform for rapid and sensitive infectious diseases diagnosis
Bacterial meningitis is a serious health concern worldwide. Given that meningitis can be fatal and many meningitis cases occurred in high-poverty areas, a simple, low-cost, highly sensitive method is in great need for immediate and early diagnosis of meningitis. Herein, we report a versatile and cost-effective polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)/paper hybrid microfluidic device integrated with loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) for the rapid, sensitive, and instrument-free detection of the main meningitis-causing bacteria, Neisseria meningitidis (N. meningitidis). The introduction of paper into the microfluidic device for LAMP reactions enables stable test results over a much longer period of time than a paper-free microfluidic system. This hybrid system also offers versatile functions, by providing not only on-site qualitative diagnostic analysis (i.e., a yes or no answer), but also confirmatory testing and quantitative analysis in laboratory settings. The limit of detection of N. meningitidis is about 3 copies per LAMP zone within 45 min, close to single-bacterium detection sensitivity. In addition, we have achieved simple pathogenic microorganism detection without a laborious sample preparation process and without the use of centrifuges. This low-cost hybrid microfluidic system provides a simple and highly sensitive approach for fast instrument-free diagnosis of N. meningitidis in resource-limited settings. This versatile PDMS/paper microfluidic platform has great potential for the point of care (POC) diagnosis of a wide range of infectious diseases, especially for developing nations.