This paper presents an innovative portable chip-based RT-PCR system for amplification of specific nucleic acid and detection of RNA-based viruses. The miniature RT-PCR chip is fabricated using MEMS (Micro-electro-mechanical-system) techniques, and comprises a micro temperature control module and a PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane)-based microfluidic control module. The heating and sensing elements of temperature control module are both made of platinum and are located within the reaction chambers in order to generate a rapid and uniform thermal cycling. The microfluidic control module is capable of automating testing process with minimum human intervention. In this paper, the proposed miniature RT-PCR system is used to amplify and detect two RNA-based viruses, namely dengue virus type-2 and enterovirus 71 (EV 71). The experimental data confirm the ability of the system to perform a two-step RT-PCR process. The developed miniature system provides a crucial tool for the diagnosis of RNA-based viruses.
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