Red Blood Cell-Mimicking Nanoparticle to Increase Influenza Virus Detection
Influenza virus is an important issue in public health. Every year, the virus infection causes critical disease in at least three million patients, and takes away half a million lives. Due to the high variability of the virus, tens of billions of US dollars are spent every year on virus diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine preparation. The flu season in Taiwan starts in October every year. To improve influenza management, early detection can provide timely treatment and avoid severe complications. Development of new strategies to improve influenza detection is thus conducive toward containing the infectious pathogens.
Supported by the "National Taiwan University and Academia Sinica Innovation Joint Program," the cross-disciplinary research team behind the study was led by Dr. Hui-Wen Chen (陳慧文), Assistant Professor of the NTU Department of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Che-Ming Jack Hu (胡哲銘), a principal investigator of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Academia Sinica. Prof. Chen is dedicated to developing influenza detection systems, therapeutics, and vaccines. Dr. Hu is a pioneer in the field of cell-mimicking nanoparticles. Due to the inherent affinity between influenza virus and red blood cells, the research team designed a magnetic nanoparticle coated with the membrane of red blood cells. The interaction between the nanoparticles and influenza viruses was thoroughly analyzed. The results showed that the red blood cell-mimicking nanoparticles effectively bound to the influenza viruses. Upon sample enrichment by a magnetic field, the virus concentration could be increased by more than 15-fold. Furthermore, these nanoparticle-enriched samples exhibited enhanced signal in the commercial rapid test. More importantly, the enriched viruses retained their infective activity in cell culture, and can be subjected to downstream analyses including subtype identification and drug resistance study. Using advanced nanotechnology, the research team successfully developed virus-capturing nanoparticles that may contribute to the clinical diagnosis of infectious diseases.
This study was jointly attended by investigators from the NTU Department of Veterinary Medicine and Academia Sinica, including graduate researchers Zih-Syun Fang (方紫珣), You-Ting Chen (陳宥廷), Yuan-I Chen (陳婉宜), Bing-Yu Yao (姚秉瑜), Ju-Yun Cheng (鄭如韻), Dr. Chen-Ying Chien (簡禎瑩), and Dr. Yuan-Chih Chang (張淵智). The study was published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces on November 8, 2017. [Note: This journal is a cross-disciplinary journal on biomaterials with an impact factor of 7.5. For more detail, please refer to the full article, “Targeting and Enrichment of Viral Pathogen by Cell Membrane Cloaked Magnetic Nanoparticles for Enhanced Detection,” in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9 (46), 2017. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b09931. The work has also been filed for US patents.]