Background: Electrophoresis on polymeric rather than glass microstructures is a promising separation method for analytical chemistry. Assays on such devices need to be explored to allow assessment of their utility for the clinical laboratory. Methods: We compared capillary and plastic microchip electrophoresis for clinical post-PCR analysis of hepatitis C virus (HCV). For capillary electrophoresis (CE), we used a separation medium composed of 10 g/L hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose in Tris-borate-EDTA buffer and 10 μmol/L intercalating dye. For microchip electrophoresis, the HCV assay established on the fused silica tubing was transferred to the untreated polymethylmethacrylate microchip with minimum modifications. Results: CE resolved the 145-bp amplicon of HCV in 15 min. The confidence interval of the migration time was <3.2%. The same HCV amplicon was resolved by microchip electrophoresis in <1.5 min with the confidence interval of the migration time <1.3%. Conclusion: The polymer microchip, with advantages that include fast processing time, simple operation, and disposable use, holds great potential for clinical analysis.
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