New Technique Uses Gold Nanoparticles to Rapidly Detect Ebola
Researchers from the University at Albany have developed a test that can detect the presence of Ebola virus from a urine sample, much faster and more cost-effectively than current methods. The technique, developed by biochemist Mehmet Yigit, relies on biomarkers and gold nanoparticles, which if triggered turn the sample red to indicate infection, or purple to indicate no infection.
Certain biomarkers for Ebola can be found in urine, and the gold nanoparticles are functionalized with DNA receptors that can bind to these Ebola biomarkers and trigger a chain reaction, Yigit, assistant chemistry professor at UAlbany told Bioscience Technology.
“The chain reaction will retain the original wine-red color of the nanoparticles, however if the Ebola biomarkers are absent, the chain reaction does not happen the nanoparticles change their color to purple,” Yigit said.
It is a fairly simple method that allows for visual detection of Ebola in minutes. To validate the detection, Yigit’s team used a method called absorbance spectroscopy, which measure the amount of light absorbed by the infected sample at a given wavelength. Overall, the team tested 25 urine samples containing four biomarkers associated with Ebola. The method produced accurate results in 24 samples, including each of the four subtypes of Ebola. Just one fifth of 1 milliliter of a sample was needed to complete the test.