Rapid Screening of Genetic Biomarkers of Infectious Agents Using Quantum Dot Barcodes

Supratim Giri, Edward A Sykes, Travis L Jennings, Warren CW Chan

ACS Nano 2011, 5, 3, 1580–1587 | DOI: 10.1021/nn102873w


The development of a rapid and sensitive infectious disease diagnostic platform would enable one to select proper treatment and to contain the spread of the disease. Here we examined the feasibility of using quantum dot (QD) barcodes to detect genetic biomarkers of the bloodborne pathogens HIV, malaria, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis. The genetic fragments from these pathogens were detected in less than 10 min at a sample volume of 200 μL and with a detection limit in the femtomol range. A next step for the advancement of QD barcode technology to the clinic will require validation of the technology with human samples to assess for matrix effects, head-to-head comparison with existing detection method, development of techniques to automate the assay and detection process, and simplification of analytical device for the read-out of the barcode signal. Our study provides an important intermediate step in the translation of QD barcode technology for screening infectious disease agents in the developed and developing world.