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Using Quantum Dots for Rapid Detection of Ebola Infections

Quantum dots (QD) are nanoparticles that have florescent properties. The QD's are covered in a polymer shell with protein embedded proteins which will target specific glycoproteins. Protien-Conjugated QD's can be used for rapid Ebola detection.

Photo of Shashwath Murthy
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Quantum dots (QD) are small semiconductors that have florescent properties. Several bio-imaging applications for QD currently exist, for instance, QD's have been used to detect the progression of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). QD synthesis and protien-conjugation is inexpensive and simple.QD's would be covered in a polymer shell with embedded protiens which will target and bind to the glycoproteins that are secreted by cells infected with the virus. Testing would be short and involve the collection a small blood sample that would be exposed it to the QD solution. If the sample retains QD's, it will glow when exposed to UV/IR light,  and indicate the presence of an Ebola infection. With enough support and resources, we can deploy testing kits at a fairly low cost and provide a more reliable test (as opposed to testing for a fever).

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Photo of Josh
Team

This is a cool idea. I'd like to call attention to a low-cost instrument idea I just posted incase it's a useful detector for you: https://openideo.com/challenge/fighting-ebola/ideas/deploy-low-cost-real-time-pcr-machines-for-rapid-diagnostics

Right now we use blue excitation light but we could easily modify to be UV or IR. How do your quantum dots glow with IR excitation though? They glow further in the IR?

Photo of Evelina
Team

Are you talking of embedded antibodies that recognize the specific glycoproteins? This would work. Or do you think of something else?

Photo of Shashwath
Team

Yes, the QD's would be bio-conjugated with an antibody. KZ52, Fab(CL) , and Fab(UNCL) can be used to bind the QD's to the unique proteolytic forms of the envelope's glycoproteins.

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684266/)

Photo of Evelina
Team

Thank you for your response. Is the procedure expensive ? How long will be ? Similar time with ELISA ? I guess so. Anyway this is a nice detection procedure !

Photo of Shashwath
Team

The fabrication of the QD is fairly inexpensive. However, I am not sure how much the bio-conjugation process would cost. The testing time would be significantly shorter then both rPCR and ELISA. There is a QD labeling method for HIV which takes 10 mins and requires only 10 uL of blood for testing.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2746625/

Photo of Evelina
Team

Not only the bio- conjugation but the production of the antibodies will be costly.
However, I think that a sensitive detection procedure is very important at this time.

Photo of Lisa
Team

Would the fact that UV light kills Ebola have any negative impact on the results? I'm not a scientist, so if that's a dumb question I apologize in advance. :)
I like this idea.

Photo of Shashwath
Team

Your question is perfectly legitimate . Even if the UV light kills the viral particles, the test only looks for the proteins that are released by the virus when its inside of a host cell. So even if the virus dies, the proteins which they left behind can be tagged with the QD's.