Respiratory viruses are a constant concern for all demographics. Examples include established viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the leading cause of respiratory infection in infants and young children, and emerging viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which reached near pandemic levels in 2003, or H1N1 (swine) influenza. Despite this prevalence, traditional methods of virus detection are typically labor intensive and require several days to successfully confirm infection. Recently, however, nanoparticle-based detection strategies have been employed in an effort to develop detection assays that are both sensitive and expedient. Each of these platforms capitalizes on the unique properties of nanoparticles for the detection of respiratory viruses. In this article, several nanoparticle-based scaffolds are discussed.Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been functionalized with virus specific antibodies or oligonucleotides. In each of these constructs, AuNPs act as both an easily conjugated scaffolding system for biological molecules and a powerful fluorescence quencher. AuNPs have also been immobilized and used as electrochemical transducers. They efficiently serve as a conducting interface of electrocatalyic activity making them a powerful tool in this application. Quantum dots (QDs) posses unique fluorescence properties that have also been explored for their application to virus detection when combined with direct antibody conjugation or streptavidin-biotin binding systems. QDs have an advantage over many traditional fluorophores because their fluorescence properties can be finely tuned and they are resistant to photobleaching. The development of these nanoparticle-based detection strategies holds the potential to be a powerful method to quickly and easily confirm respiratory virus infection. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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