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The lab-on-a-stick that lets us know if we’re pregnant is a genius bit of technology that can be used to quickly determine everything from whether there are nuts in our chocolate to whether we have COVID.
To learn more about this topic, start your googling with these keywords:
Early Pregnancy Test: A simple lateral flow assay that tests for the presence of a particular hormone in urine.
Lateral Flow Assay: Simple tests in which a liquid sample is run along the surface of a pad using capillary action and colored antibodies to show a visual positive or negative result.
Capillary Action: The movement of water-based liquids within small tubes due to the forces of cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension.
Antibody: A blood protein produced by the immune system in response to a particular antigen.
Antigen: A foreign substance which produces an immune response within the body.
False positive: A result produced that falsely indicates a particular antigen is present.
False negative: A result produced that falsely indicates that a particular antigen is absent.
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Koczula, K., and Gallotta, A. (2016) Lateral Flow Assays. Essays in Biochemistry, 60: 111-120. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4986465/.
Seo, K., Holt, P., Stone, H. and Gast, R. (2003). Simple and rapid methods for detecting Salmonella enteritidis in raw eggs. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 87: 139-144. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12927716/.
Bishop, J., Hsieh, H., Gasperino, D., and Weigl, B. (2019). (1997). Sensitivity enhancement in lateral flow assays: a systems perspective. Lab On A Chip, 19: 2486-2499. Retrieved from: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2019/lc/c9lc00104b#!divAbstract.
O’Farrell, B. (2008). Evolution in Lateral Flow–Based Immunoassay Systems. Nature Public Health Emergency Collection. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7119943/
Collins, F. (2020). Charting a Rapid Course Toward Better COVID-19 Tests and Treatments. NIH Director’s Blog. Retrieved from: https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2020/08/06/charting-a-rapid-course-toward-better-covid-19-tests-and-treatments/
Shen, A. Personal Communication (2020). Director, Micro/Bio/Nanofluidics Unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. https://groups.oist.jp/mbnu