A Portable Fluorescent Lateral Flow Immunoassay Platform for Rapid Detection of FluA

The spread of the FluA virus poses significant public health concerns worldwide. Fluorescent lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) test strips have emerged as vital tools for the early detection and monitoring of influenza infections. However, existing quantitative virus-detection methods, particularly those utilizing smartphone-based sensing platforms, encounter accessibility challenges in resource-limited areas and among the elderly population. Despite their advantages in speed and portability, these platforms often lack user-friendliness for these demographics, impeding their widespread utilization. To address these challenges, this study proposes leveraging the optical pick-up unit (OPU) sourced from commercial optical drives as a readily available fluorescence excitation module for the quantitative detection of antibodies labeled with quantum-dot fluorescent microspheres. Additionally, we utilize miniaturized and high-performance optical components and 3D-printed parts, along with a customized control system, to develop an affordable point-of-care testing (POCT) device. Within the system, a stepping motor scans the test strip from the T-line to the C-line, enabling the calculation of the fluorescence-intensity ratio between the two lines. This simple yet effective design facilitates rapid and straightforward field or at-home testing for FluA. The proposed prototype platform demonstrates promising performance, achieving a limit of detection (LOD) of 2.91 ng/mL, a total detection time of no more than 15 min, and dimensions of 151 mm × 11.2 mm × 10.8 mm3. We believe that the proposed approach holds great potential for improving access to an accurate influenza diagnosis.