Packaging and Point of care

In the case that the LOC is disposable, it is necessary to replace the used device with a new one. Therefore, it is necessary to make the required connections without glue or wire bonding. This is usually mentioned as a forgotten aspect. The final packaging might be the 80% of the cost of the microsystem, in this case a LOC. As far as we know, there are not published works of LOCs embedded in a card format. Usually this is not a fancy field for research but it has a lot of interest for companies. In fact, Siemens has developed a fluidic thin cartridge similar to a labcard fabricated by plastic replication to carry out a PCR. Unlike LabOnFOil proposal, it is limited to components made by plastic replication (no photholithography, difficult metalisation, no moveable structures embedded in the channel), and it has a much less components density than our future LabOnFoil components.

A handheld unit performing NASBA with real-time fluorescence amplification monitoring has been developed by the University of Southern Florida (USF) and used (e.g. for the measurement of rbcL gene of K. brevis (a ‘red tide’ HAB species)). This device has been used extensively for analysis of RNA for a number of phytoplankton species and communities, for Enteroviruses and Noroviruses. An in situ (i.e. autonomous and submersible) oceanographic NASBA analyser has been developed based on this technology.

This shows the potential of the device proposed in this application, which extends the concept to a more compact device, that can perform multiple analysis (qPCR and qIPCR in addition to NASBA) and can be rapidly reconfigured for each analysis (by use of the card / reader system).

An alternative approach using immobilised hybridization probes has been developed to produce an in situ instrument for sample preparation, lysis and detection of phytoplankton (the ‘ESP’ instrument. This approach gives a semi-quantitative indication of species presence in the sample and has the advantage of multiplexed read out. This achieves a microbiologists first goal: identifying who is present.

The device proposed in this application, with multiple analyses available, will also determine how many of each genotype is present, what they are doing, and what is their physiological state. This gives a near complete picture of the microbial environment.

The right balance between relevant, feasible and efficient research.
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