Immunosensor towards low-cost, rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis†
A rapid, accurate tuberculosis diagnostic tool that is compatible with the needs of tuberculosis-endemic settings is a long-sought goal. An immunofluorescence microtip sensor is described that detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex cells in sputum in 25 minutes. Concentration mechanisms based on flow circulation and electric field are combined at different scales to concentrate target bacteria in 1 mL samples onto the surfaces of microscale tips. Specificity is conferred by genus-specific antibodies on the microtip surface. Immunofluorescence is then used to detect the captured cells on the microtip. The detection limit in sputum is 200 CFU mL−1 with a success rate of 96%, which is comparable to PCR.