Detecting HIV diagnostic antibodies with DNA nanomachines

Detecting HIV diagnostic antibodies with DNA nanomachines

Researchers have designed and synthesized a nanometer-scale DNA “machine” whose customized modifications enable it to recognize a specific target antibody.

Described in Angewandte Chemie, this new approach promises to support the development of rapid, low-cost antibody detection at the point-of-care, eliminating the treatment initiation delays and increasing healthcare costs associated with current techniques.

The binding of the antibody to the DNA machine causes a structural change (or switch), which generates a light signal. The sensor does not need to be chemically activated and is rapid – acting within five minutes – enabling the targeted antibodies to be easily detected, even in complex clinical samples such as blood serum.

The materials needed for one assay cost about 15 cents, making this approach very competitive in comparison with other quantitative approaches.

The signal of the nanoswitch may be read using a mobile phone. This will make new approach really available to anyone! Authors are working on this idea and would like to start involving diagnostic companies.