The outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) has posed a great challenge to public health in recent years. To address the urgent need of ZIKV RNA assays, we integrate the microfluidic chip embedded with chitosan-modified silicon dioxide capillaries, smartphone-based detection unit to be a C3-system for the rapid extraction and detection of ZIKV RNA. The C3-system is characterized by: (1) four chitosan-modified silicon dioxide capillaries integrated in the microfluidic chip for target ZIKV RNA enrichment and “in situ PCR” (polymerase chain reaction) amplification; (2) smartphone-based point of care (POC) device consisting of a pneumatic subsystem for controlling the nucleic acid extraction processes in the microfluidic chip, a heating subsystem for sample lysis and PCR amplification, and an optical subsystem for signal acquisition. The entire detection processes including sample lysis, ZIKV RNA enrichment, and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is achieved in the microfluidic chip. Moreover, PCR buffers can be directly loaded into the chitosan-modified silicon dioxide capillaries for “in situ PCR”, in which the captured ZIKV RNA is directly used for downstream PCR without any loss. ZIKV RNA extracted by the C3-system can be successfully recovered at very low concentrations of 50 transducing units (TU)/mL from crude human saliva. This means that our method of detecting viremia in patients infected with ZIKV is reliable.
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