Highly sensitive detection of influenza virus with SERS aptasensor

Highly sensitive and rapid technology of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) was applied to create aptasensors for influenza virus detection. SERS achieves 106−109 times signal amplification, yielding excellent sensitivity, whereas aptamers to hemagglutinin provide a specific recognition of the influenza virus. Aptamer RHA0385 was demonstrated to have essentially broad strain-specificity toward both recombinant hemagglutinins and the whole viruses. To achieve high sensitivity, a sandwich of primary aptamers, influenza virus and secondary aptamers was assembled. Primary aptamers were attached to metal particles of a SERS substrate, and influenza viruses were captured and bound with secondary aptamers labelled with Raman-active molecules. The signal was affected by the concentration of both primary and secondary aptamers. The limit of detection was as low as 1 · 10−4hemagglutination units per probe as tested for the H3N2 virus (A/England/42/72). Aptamer-based sensors provided recognition of various influenza viral strains, including H1, H3, and H5 hemagglutinin subtypes. Therefore, the aptasensors could be applied for fast and low-cost strain-independent determination of influenza viruses.