Rapid diagnostic testing platform for iron and Vitamin A deficiency

Zhengda Lu, Dakota O'Dell, Balaji Srinivasan, Elizabeth Rey, Ruisheng Wang, Sasank Vemulapati, Saurabh Mehta, David Erickson, Alfred Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Micronutrient deficiencies such as those of Vitamin A and iron affect a third of the world's population with consequences such as night blindness, higher child mortality, anemia, poor pregnancy outcomes, and reduced work capacity. Many efforts to prevent or treat these deficiencies are hampered by the lack of adequate, accessible, and affordable diagnostic methods that can enable better targeting of interventions. In this work, we demonstrate a rapid diagnostic test and mobile enabled platform for simultaneously quantifying iron (ferritin), Vitamin A (retinolbinding protein), and inflammation (C-reactive protein) status. Our approach, enabled by combining multiple florescent markers and immunoassay approaches on a single test, allows us to provide accurate quantification in 15 min even though the physiological range of the markers of interest varies over five orders of magnitude. We report sensitivities of 88%, 100%, and 80% and specificities of 97%, 100%, and 97% for iron deficiency (ferritin <15 ng/mL or 32 pmol/L), Vitamin A deficiency (retinol-binding protein <14.7 μg/mL or 0.70 μmol/L) and inflammation status (C-reactive protein >3.0 μg/mL or 120 nmol/L), respectively. This technology is suitable for point-of-care use in both resource-rich and resource-limited settings and can be read either by a standard laptop computer or through our previously developed NutriPhone technology. If implemented as either a population-level screening or clinical diagnostic tool, we believe this platform can transform nutritional status assessment and monitoring globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13513-13518
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017


  • Fluorescence immunoassay
  • Micronutrient deficiency diagnostics
  • Multicolor lateral flow
  • Point-of-care diagnostics
  • Smartphone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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