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J Viral Hepat. 2018 Feb;25(2):108-117. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12827. Epub 2017 Dec 27.

Innovative technologies for point-of-care testing of viral hepatitis in low-resource and decentralized settings.

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Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris, Paris, France.
Inserm, Institut Pierre Louis d'épidémiologie et de Santé Publique (IPLESP UMRS 1136), Paris, France.
Service de maladies infectieuses et tropicales, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Paris, France.


According to the Global Burden of Diseases, chronic viral hepatitis B and C are one of the most challenging global health conditions that rank among the first causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Low- and middle-income countries are particularly affected by the health burden associated with HBV or HCV infection. One major gap in efficiently addressing the issue of viral hepatitis is universal screening. However, the costs and chronic lack of human resources for using traditional screening strategies based on serology and molecular biology preclude any scaling-up. Point-of-care tests have been deemed a powerful potential solution to fill the current diagnostics gap in low-resource and decentralized settings. Despite high interest resulting from their development in recent years, very few point-of-care devices have reached the market. Scaling down and automating all testing steps in 1 single device (eg, sample preparation, detection and readout) is indeed challenging. But innovations in multiple disciplines such as nanotechnologies, microfluidics, biosensors and synthetic biology have led to the creation of chip-sized laboratory systems called "lab-on-a-chip" devices. This review aims to explain how these innovations can overcome technological barriers that usually arise for each testing step while developing integrated point-of-care tests. Point-of-care test prototypes rarely meet the requirements for mass production, which also hinders their large-scale production. In addition to logistical hurdles, legal and economic constraints specific to the commercialization of in vitro diagnostics, which have also participated in the low transfer of innovative point-of-care tests to the field, are discussed.


biosensors; lab-on-a-chip; microfluidics; nanotechnology; point-of-care tests; synthetic biology


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