In vivo cellular imaging and in vitro assays or sensors are fundamentally used to study the spatiotemporal interaction of molecules at biological interfaces. The study of these interfaces informs various applications such as diagnostics/detection of foreign materials or processes in the biological system. Raman spectroscopy, an optical, non-destructive, label-free fingerprinting tool offers a wide array of applications in both in vitro and in vivo diagnostics owing to its relatively short acquisition time, non-invasiveness and ability to provide biochemical molecular information. It has been explored in tissue imaging, in vitro diagnosis, DNA/RNA analysis, metabolic accretions, single cell analysis photodynamic therapy, etc. The chapter details the application of the optical Raman platform in the detection and imaging of diseases/tissues. The challenges associated with SERS applications and the future outlook as a biomedical diagnostic tool are also discussed.
The imminent scenario of malaria burden on endemic regions burdens healthcare and is a threat to non-endemic regions. Microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) remain the gold standard for malaria detection in resource-constrained regions. They still present low sensitivity at low parasite density, however, with microscopy also requiring trained personnel, expensive and time consuming. Affordable, rapid, specific, sensitive and simple malaria diagnostics remain elusive. Molecular-based diagnostics, polymerase chain reaction and loop-mediated isothermal amplification, although highly sensitive even at low parasitemia, still have challenges hindering their use in resource-constrained regions. This chapter discusses the conventional microscopy, spectroscopy, RDTs and molecular platforms in malaria detection. It also highlights current interventions on mitigations of their existing hurdles and adaptability to developing regions. Such inventions include the amalgamation of different techniques, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
Part of the book: Malaria
The recent global pandemic caused by Covid-19 enforced the urgent need for accessible, reliable, and accurate point-of-care rapid diagnostics based on plasmonic nanostructures. This is because fast and reliable testing was the key driver in curbing the spread of Covid-19. The traditional methods of diagnostics and biosensors often require expensive infrastructure and highly qualified and trained personnel, which limits their accessibility. These limitations perpetuated the impact of Covid-19 in most countries because of the lack of easily accessible point-of-care rapid diagnostic kits. This review revealed that portable and reliable point-of-care diagnostic kits are very crucial in reaching large populations, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries. This gives perspective to novel point-of-care applications. Furthermore, water quality is a very crucial part of food safety, especially in developing countries faced with water contamination. In this chapter, we explored the various challenges and recent developments in the use of plasmonic nanostructures for application in molecular diagnostics and biosensing for the detection of infectious diseases and common environmental pathogens.
Part of the book: Plasmonic Nanostructures