Rapid detection of avian influenza H5N1 virus using impedance measurement of immuno-reaction coupled with RBC amplification

Jacob Lum, Ronghui Wang, Kentu Lassiter, Balaji Srinivasan, Daad Abi-Ghanem, Luc Berghman, Billy Hargis, Steve Tung, Huaguang Lu, Yanbin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Avian influenza virus (AIV) subtype H5N1 was first discovered in the 1990s and since then its emergence has become a likely source of a global pandemic and economic loss. Currently accepted gold standard methods of influenza detection, viral culture and rRT-PCR, are time consuming, expensive and require special training and laboratory facilities. A rapid, sensitive, and specific screening method is needed for in-field or bedside testing of AI virus to effectively implement quarantines and medications. Therefore, the objective of this study was to improve the specificity and sensitivity of an impedance biosensor that has been developed for the screening of AIV H5. Three major components of the developed biosensor are immunomagnetic nanoparticles for the separation of AI virus, a microfluidic chip for sample control and an interdigitated microelectrode for impedance measurement. In this study polyclonal antibody against N1 subtype was immobilized on the surface of the microelectrode to specifically bind AIV H5N1 to generate more specific impedance signal and chicken red blood cells (RBC) were used as biolabels to attach to AIV H5N1 captured on the microelectrode to amplify impedance signal. RBC amplification was shown to increase the impedance signal change by more than 100% compared to the protocol without RBC biolabels, and was necessary for forming a linear calibration curve for the biosensor. The use of a second antibody against N1 offered much greater specificity and reliability than the previous biosensor protocol. The biosensor was able to detect AIV H5N1 at concentrations down to 103 EID50ml-1 in less than 2h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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