A Paper-Based Multiplexed Transaminase Test for Low-Cost, Point-of-Care Liver Function Testing
In developed nations, monitoring for drug-induced liver injury through serial measurements of serum transaminases [aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT)] in at-risk individuals is the standard of care. Despite the need, monitoring for drug-related hepatotoxicity in resource-limited settings is often limited by expense and logistics, even for patients at highest risk. This article describes the development and clinical testing of a paper-based, multiplexed microfluidic assay designed for rapid, semiquantitative measurement of AST and ALT in a fingerstick specimen. Using 223 clinical specimens obtained by venipuncture and 10 fingerstick specimens from healthy volunteers, we have shown that our assay can, in 15 min, provide visual measurements of AST and ALT in whole blood or serum, which allow the user to place those values into one of three readout “bins” [<3× upper limit of normal (ULN), 3 to 5× ULN, and >5× ULN, corresponding to tuberculosis/HIV treatment guidelines] with >90% accuracy. These data suggest that the ultimate point-of-care fingerstick device will have high impact on patient care in low-resource settings.