Magnetically-enabled biomarker extraction and delivery system: towards integrated ASSURED diagnostic tools
Diagnosis of asymptomatic malaria poses a great challenge to global disease elimination efforts. Healthcare infrastructure in rural settings cannot support existing state-of-the-art tools necessary to diagnose asymptomatic malaria infections. Instead, lateral flow immunoassays (LFAs) are widely used as a diagnostic tool in malaria endemic areas. While LFAs are simple and easy to use, they are unable to detect low levels of parasite infection. We have developed a field deployable Magnetically-enabled Biomarker Extraction And Delivery System (mBEADS) that significantly improves limits of detection for several commercially available LFAs. Integration of mBEADS with leading commercial Plasmodium falciparum malaria LFAs improves detection limits to encompass an estimated 95% of the disease reservoir. This user-centered mBEADS platform makes significant improvements to a previously cumbersome malaria biomarker enrichment strategy by improving reagent stability, decreasing the processing time 10-fold, and reducing the assay cost 10-fold. The resulting mBEADS process adds just three minutes and less than $0.25 to the total cost of a single LFA, thus balancing sensitivity and practicality to align with the World Health Organization's ASSURED criteria for point-of-care (POC) testing.