Automated screening using microfluidic chip-based PCR and product detection to assess risk of BK virus-associated nephropathy in renal transplant recipients

Electrophoresis. 2006 Oct;27(19):3753-63. doi: 10.1002/elps.200600061.


The cost-effective detection of viral particles in bodily fluids could enable more effective responses to viral outbreaks, whether isolated clinical cases, or influenza epidemics. In renal transplant recipients, complications arising from high levels of BK virus can lead to graft dysfunction, graft loss, and/or reduced patient survival. We describe a microfluidic system for the sensitive analysis of BK virus (viral load) in unprocessed urine samples that are applied directly onto the chip, thus avoiding labor-intensive processing and sources of inter-assay variability. Integration of small volume genetic amplification (PCR) and electrophoretic analysis detects as few as 1-2 viral copies, distinguishes between high, medium and low levels of virus and reliably identifies viral loads requiring clinical intervention. As a first step to wider application in the clinic and in the field, the present work presents an entirely microchip-based system, validated against conventional clinical methods using clinical samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • BK Virus / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / urine
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Polyomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Renal Insufficiency / diagnosis*
  • Renal Insufficiency / virology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Viral