Virus-based SELEX (viro-SELEX) allows development of aptamers targeting knotty proteins†
It has been 100 years since the worst flu (Spanish flu) mankind has ever experienced. Rapid, accurate diagnosis and subtyping of flu are still an urgent unmet medical need. By using surrogate virus-based SELEX (viro-SELEX), we report here multiple advances incorporated into the field of flu diagnostics: (i) aptamers that can bind to the native virus well even though they cannot bind strongly to a recombinant protein (hemagglutinin); (ii) a couple of aptamers that can target a broad range of strains belonging to the H1N1 subtype and detect only the H1N1 subtype and nothing else; (iii) a highly sensitive lateral flow assay system (limit of detection is 0.08 HAU) using fluorescence-tagged aptamers. The viro-SELEX method of aptamer selection in conjunction with a fluorescent tag on aptamers is a very useful approach to develop highly sensitive, specific, portable, rapid, and quantitative point-of-care testing diagnostic tools for the future.