Lateral flow immunochromatographic assay on a single piece of paper†
Lateral flow immunochromatographic assays (LFIAs) are analytical devices used to detect the presence of one or more target analytes in a liquid sample. While LFIAs are one of the simplest and inexpensive types of immunoassays, they consist of multiple components (sample pad, conjugate pad, membrane, absorbent pad, backing card) and materials, requiring time-consuming device assembly. Here, we report a unique lateral flow immunochromatographic assay constructed from a single piece of cellulose paper, which is fabricated via laser cutting. Compared with conventional lateral flow immunochromatographic devices, this single-layer immunoassay enables simpler and faster fabrication, while minimizing material consumption and overall device costs. For proof-of-concept, this device was used to detect Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2), a biomarker for malaria infection, which could be detected at concentrations as low as 4 ng mL−1 by the naked eye with no cross reactivity with other common Plasmodium protein biomarkers. While offering similar speed and ease-of-use as conventional LFIAs with a higher detection sensitivity than existing LFIAs for PfHRP2 detection, this single-layer lateral flow immunoassay has the potential to improve malaria testing, as well as the detection of other important protein biomarkers for point-of-care testing.