Given the recent world pandemic of COVID-19, the need for the field- and clinic-ready diagnostic methods and devices is in high demand. The low-cost devices for rapid virus detections with high sensitivity must be available to minimize infection spreading in society. Virus detection from human specimens, including nasopharyngeal swabs, blood withdrawals, urine, or feces, is specifically challenging – particularly true for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 detection from nasopharyngeal swabs). At present, the specimens are quite complex for further processing and subsequent assays. The current approach based on cell culturing to determine virus infection is difficult to process in the field. Moreover, some viruses are not culturable at all. Recently, a series of emerging microfluidic strategies have been developed to offer a range of advanced bioassay to rapidly determine virus infection progress. Both antibody- and nucleic acid amplification-based methods can be implemented on microfluidic platforms. Nucleic acid amplification methods, most notably polymerase chain reaction (PCR), are preferred for virus detection from human specimens (typically with reverse transcription), due to its high specificity and sensitivity. Beside the success of lab-based virus detections, the implementation of microfluidic platforms towards field- and clinic-ready detection has been considered challenging. For example, how can gene extraction and purification as well as thermal cycling be implemented on a microfluidic device? Antibody-based methods, including lateral flow immunochromatographic assays or dip-stick assays, are simple and rapid, while the detection sensitivity is limited to determine low abundant virus in a clinical sample. Indeed, the challenge to bring lab-based microfluidic devices to the level of clinical diagnostics while accommodating their low cost, rapid assay time, and use in the clinics remains.
Here, we welcome both review and original research articles on this topic of microfluidic detection of viruses for human health, to provide an international discussion forum on this timely topic. Research on CoV (including SARS, MERS, and COVID-19) is more likely to draw significant interest, while all submissions on the microfluidic virus detection are encouraged.
Topics covered include, but are not limited to:
- Lab on a chip
- Point of care diagnostics
Jeong-Yeol Yoon, The University of Arizona
Chia-Hung Chen, Chinese University of Hong Kong
How to Submit:
- Please submit through the online submission system.
- Under manuscript information → Title/Abstract → select “Invited Submission: Yes”.
- Under manuscript information → Manuscript classification → select “Special Topic: Yes” → Select “Microfluidic Detection of Viruses for Human Health.”