Paper-based nucleic acid amplification tests for point-of-care diagnostics
There has been a recent resurgence in the use of paper as a substrate for developing point-of-care medical diagnostic tests, possibly triggered by expiring patents published in the 1990s. A hallmark of this resurgence has been the development of advanced shapes and structures made from paper to conduct multi-step fluidic operations using the wicking action of porous materials. Such devices indicate a distinct improvement over lateral flow immunoassays, which are restricted to conducting one-step operations. New developments in paper-based diagnostic devices have triggered interest in the development of paper-based point-of-care nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs). NAATs can identify extremely low levels of specific nucleic acid sequences from clinical samples and are the most sensitive of all available tests for infectious disease diagnosis. Because traditional PCR-based NAATs require expensive instruments, the development of portable paper-based NAAT's has become an exciting field of research. This article aims to review and analyse the current state of development of paper-based NAATs. We project paper-based NAATs as miniaturized chemical processes and shed light on various schemes of operation used for converting the multiple steps of the chemical processes into paper microfluidic devices. We conclude by elaborating on the challenges that must be overcome in the near future so that progress can be made towards the development of fully functional and commercial paper-based NAATs.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles