The increasing risk of infectious pathogens, especially in the under-developed countries, is demanding the development of point-of-care (POC) nucleic acid testing in the low-resource setting conditions. Here, we describe a methodology for colorimetric quantitative analysis of nucleic acid using an easy-to-build smartphone-based platform, offering low-cost, portability, simplicity in operation, and user-friendliness. The whole system consists of a hand-held box equipped with a smartphone, a film heater, a white LED, a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) chip, and a DC converter, and all the processes were powered by a portable battery of 5 V. Upon the amplification of the target gene by an Eriochrome Black T-mediated LAMP reaction, the color of the LAMP reaction was changed from violet to blue that was real-time recorded by a smartphone camera. To keep track of the progress of the color change, we developed a novel mobile app in which a hue value was accepted as an indicator for color transition and for determining the threshold time of the amplification reaction. A calibration curve could be generated by plotting the logarithm of the known concentration of the DNA templates versus the threshold time, and it can be used to predict the copy number of nucleic acids in the test samples. Thus, the proposed mobile platform can inform us of not only qualitative but also quantitative results of the pathogens. We believe that this advanced colorimetric approach and the mobile app can expand the potentials of the smartphone for the future POCT system in the bio-diagnostic fields.
Read full text: Nguyen, H.Q., Nguyen, V., Van Nguyen, H. et al. Quantification of colorimetric isothermal amplification on the smartphone and its open-source app for point-of-care pathogen detection. Sci Rep 10, 15123 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-72095-3
Keywords: colorimetric isothermal amplification, smartphone, open-source app, point-of-care pathogen detection, mobile app, infectious pathogens, #MedTech, #HealthTech.