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Chagas disease is a neglected parasitic infection and a major public health problem in the Americas. It remains underdiagnosed in the United States and internationally due to the lack of affordable testing and disparities in healthcare, particularly for those most at risk. We describe a proof-of-concept lateral flow immunoassay employing a recombinant Chagas multiantigen conjugated to gold nanoshells (AuNS) to detect circulating human anti-Chagas IgG antibodies. This is one of the first lateral flow immunoassays to capitalize on the larger surface area of AuNS compared with nanoparticles that can help amplify low-magnitude signals. Results were compared with 42 positive and negative Chagas serum samples, of which a subset of 27 samples was validated against an ELISA (Hemagen®). The sensitivity and specificity of our assay were 83% and 95%, respectively. These results suggest that an AuNS-based rapid testing for Chagas disease could facilitate in-field screening/diagnosis with a performance comparable to commercial methods.
Financial support: Primary support for this research was granted by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering from the National Institutes of Health (Grant no. R01 EB021331). M. M. R. acknowledges the funding support by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences from the National Institutes of Health (Grant no. TL1-TR-002386). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Authors’ addresses: Melisa Medina-Rivera and Saurabh Mehta, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Global Health, and Technology (INSiGHT), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Washington B. Cárdenas, Laboratorio para Investigaciones Biomédicas, Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral, Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. David Erickson, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Global Health, and Technology (INSiGHT), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, and Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, E-mail: email@example.com.