Evaluation of a nanophosphor lateral-flow assay for self-testing for herpes simplex virus type 2 seropositivity

Heather J. Goux, Balakrishnan Raja, Katerina Kourentzi, João R.C. Trabuco, Binh V. Vu, Andrew S. Paterson, Alexander Kirkpatrick, Blane Townsend, Miles Lee, Van Thi Thanh Truong, Claudia Pedroza, Richard C. Willson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) is a common human pathogen that causes life-long illness. The US prevalence of HSV-2 infection is 11.9% for individuals between 15 and 49 years of age. Individuals with HSV-2 infection are more likely to contract and spread other sexually-transmitted infections. Eighty percent of individuals with HSV-2 are unaware of their infection, in part because of the social stigma associated with in-clinic testing for sexually-transmitted infections. We conducted an initial evaluation of a prototype smartphone-based serological lateral-flow immunoassay (LFA) for HSV-2 infection that uses strontium aluminate persistent luminescent nanoparticles (nanophosphors) as reporters. When applied to a test panel of 21 human plasma/serum samples varying in anti-HSV titer, the nanophosphor HSV-2 LFA had 96.7% sensitivity and 100% specificity for detection of HSV-2 infection. The sensitivity of the nanophosphor HSV-2 LFA was higher than that of commercially-available rapid HSV-2 assays tested with the same panel. Analysis of the iPhone nanophosphor HSV-2 LFA strip images with our custom smartphone app gave greater reproducibility compared to ImageJ analysis of strip images. The smartphone-based nanophosphor LFA technology shows promise for private self-testing for sexually-transmitted infections (STI).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0225365
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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