A stacking flow immunoassay for the detection of dengue-specific immunoglobulins in salivary fluid
Paper-based immunoassays, usually in the form of lateral flow tests, are currently the standard platform for home diagnostics. However, conventional lateral tests are often complicated by severe non-specific adsorption of detector particles when applied to test samples containing salivary fluid. It is believed that a high concentration of proteinaceous substances in salivary fluid causes particle aggregation and adhesion. In this study, we developed a stacking flow platform for single-step detection of a target antibody in salivary fluid. Stacking flow circumvents the need for separate sample pre-treatments, such as filtration or centrifugation, which are often required prior to testing saliva samples using paper-based immunoassays. This is achieved by guiding the samples and reagents to the test strip through different paths. By doing so, salivary substances that interfere with the particle-based sensing system are removed before they come into contact with the detection reagents, which greatly reduces the background. In addition, the stacking flow configuration enables uniform flow with a unique flow regulator, which leads to even test lines with good quantification capability, enabling the detection of ~20 ng mL−1 α-fetoprotein in the serum. We have successfully applied the stacking flow device to detect dengue-specific immunoglobulins that are present in salivary fluid.