LIM platform: First-response screening of infectious diseases

The prototype of e the proposed LIM platform including reader and microfluidic hardware and software user interface

ICREA has developed a powerful large-field-of-view and lens-free interferometric microscope (LIM) that has the capability to be employed as a point-of-care platform for a variety of serological analysis.

Our LIM platform tackles the need for multiple, fast and precise diagnostic tests during sanitary emergencies. It consists of a compact imaging platform that utilizes a proprietary interferometric lens-less reader design, a plasmonic substrate to allow label-free detection of biomarkers at very low concentrations (e.g. ng/mL) and a microfluidic cartridge to manipulate the sample and perform the test.

Its versatility and robustness make it suitable for places where standard methods cannot be easily deployed (airports, ambulances, pharmacies, first attention units, etc.). Furthermore, it represents a cost- effective solution for low resource settings, where access to conventional laboratory analysis is not possible. 


The working principle of the proposed LIM platform 

Initially developed for the rapid detection of sepsis (EU project RAIS, http://www.rais-project.eeu), the LIM platform has been demonstrated for a wide range of sepsis biomarkers, including miRNA, peptides, proteins, etc., with real patient samples at Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron.

The results confirmed that it was possible to rapidly discriminate between healthy and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) patients and those with sepsis. 
The RAIS project concept for Sepsis or pandemics detection: after extraction of blood, the sample is inserted into the proposed cartridge and directly measured with the point-of-care reader. In less than 30 minutes, the quantitative results are visible on the device or the hospital system.

The proposed LIM platform can analyze small samples of body fluids like serum, blood, sputum or naso/oropharyngeal specimens in a disposable cartridge. The detection mechanism is based on the interference of two partially overlapping light beams, in a configuration that offers stability much higher than conventional interferometers and a sensitivity as good as 0.1nm. After proper patent protection, it is now in a pre-industrialization phase. It offers a fast time-to-result (under 30 minutes) and it can be applied to simultaneously detect thousands of relevant targets, making it suitable to address future epidemic outbreaks. 


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