What We Are Doing?
Transmissible diseases such as influenza have threatened the lives of people in Hong Kong and worldwide. However, while cold-flu differentiation remains difficult for non-experts, subtyping for epidemic control and treatment scheming is inaccessible for small clinics. In our project, we have constructed a sequence-specific RNA probe that increases its fluorescence by 10-fold upon target recognition. It is proven in a cell-free context and has the potential to expand to cellular applications. We also developed a mobile phone-based fluorometer coupled with its external software, collectively called Tracer. (The combination of hardware calibration and machine learning analysis may provide signal measurement with orthogonality and accuracy.) The tools can be combined into a user-friendly kit, allowing quick determination of their infection status using their nasal fluid, while the data obtained from a population of software users can be gathered for epidemic monitoring. This project provides a novel, rapid RNA-based influenza diagnostic system.