Lab Med Online.  2013 Jan;3(1):62-72. 10.3343/lmo.2013.3.1.62.

Discerning Trends in Multiplex Immunoassay Technology with Potential for Resource-Limited Settings

  • 1Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, Geneva, Switzerland.


In the search for more powerful tools for diagnoses of endemic diseases in resource-limited settings, we have been analyzing technologies with potential applicability. Increasingly, the process focuses on readily accessible bodily fluids combined with increasingly powerful multiplex capabilities to unambiguously diagnose a condition without resorting to reliance on a sophisticated reference laboratory. Although these technological advances may well have important implications for the sensitive and specific detection of disease, to date their clinical utility has not been demonstrated, especially in resource-limited settings. Furthermore, many emerging technological developments are in fields of physics or engineering, which are not readily available to or intelligible to clinicians or clinical laboratory scientists. CONTENT: This review provides a look at technology trends that could have applicability to high-sensitivity multiplexed immunoassays in resource-limited settings. Various technologies are explained and assessed according to potential for reaching relevant limits of cost, sensitivity, and multiplex capability. Frequently, such work is reported in technical journals not normally read by clinical scientists, and the authors make enthusiastic claims for the potential of their technology while ignoring potential pitfalls. Thus it is important to draw attention to technical hurdles that authors may not be publicizing. SUMMARY: Immunochromatographic assays, optical methods including those involving waveguides, electrochemical methods, magnetorestrictive methods, and field-effect transistor methods based on nanotubes, nanowires, and nanoribbons reveal possibilities as next-generation technologies.

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