Scientific reports 2017 08 027(1) 7149 doi 10.1038/s41598-017-07299-1
We have engineered streptavidin labelled Europium doped fluorescent silica nanoparticles which significantly increased sensitivity without compromising the specificity of the immunoassay. As a proof of concept, a time resolved fluorescence based sandwich immunoassay was developed to detect HIV-1 p24 antigen in clinical specimens. The detection range of the silica nanoparticle based immunoassay (SNIA) was found to be between 0.02 to 500 pg/mL in a linear dose dependent manner. SNIA offers 1000 fold enhancement over conventional colorimetric ELISA. Testing of plasma samples that were HIV negative showed no false positive results in the detection of HIV-1 p24 antigen. This highly sensitive p24 assay can help improve blood safety by reducing the antibody negative window period in blood donors in resource limited settings where nucleic acid testing is not practical or feasible. This technology can also be easily transferred to a lab-on-a-chip platform for use in resource limited settings and can also be easily adopted for the detection of other antigens.