Nanotechnology diagnostics for infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries

Tanya S Hauck, Supratim Giri, Yali Gao, Warren CW Chan

Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews Volume 62, Issues 4–5, 18 March 2010, Pages 438-448 | DOI: 10.1016/j.addr.2009.11.015


Infectious diseases are prevalent in the developing world and are one of the developing world’s major sources of morbidity and mortality. While infectious diseases can initiate in a localized region, they can spread rapidly at any moment due to the ease of traveling from one part of the world to the next. This could lead to a global pandemic. One key to preventing this spread is the development of diagnostics that can quickly identify the infectious agent so that one can properly treat or in some severe cases, quarantine a patient. There have been major advances in diagnostic technologies but infectious disease diagnostics are still based on 50-year technologies that are limited by speed of analysis, need for skilled workers, poor detection threshold and inability to detect multiple strains of infectious agents. Here, we describe advances in nanotechnology and microtechnology diagnostics for infectious diseases. In these diagnostic schemes, the nanomaterials are used as labels or barcodes while microfluidic systems are used to automate the sample preparation and the assays. We describe the current state of the field and the challenges.