Pandemic influenza, triggered by the mutation of a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (IFV), has caused considerable damage to public health. In order to identify such pandemic IFVs, antibodies that specifically recognize viral surface proteins have been widely used. However, since the analysis of a newly discovered virus is time consuming, this delays the availability of suitable detection antibodies, making this approach unsuitable for the early identification of pandemic IFVs. Here we propose a label-free semiconductor-based biosensor functionalized with sialic-acid-containing glycans for the rapid identification of the pandemic IFVs present in biological fluids. Specific glycans are able to recognize wild-type human and avian IFVs, suggesting that they are useful in discovering pandemic IFVs at the early stages of an outbreak. We successfully demonstrated that a dual-channel integrated FET biosensing system, which were modified with 6′-sialyllactose and 3′-sialyllactose for each gate area, can directly and specifically detect human H1N1 and avian H5N1 IFV particles, respectively, present in nasal mucus. Furthermore, to examine the possibility of identifying pandemic IFVs, the signal attributed to the detection of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) particles, which was selected as a prime model of a pandemic IFV, was clearly observed from both sensing gates. Our findings suggest that the proposed glycan-immobilized sensing system could be useful in identifying new pandemic IFVs at the source of an outbreak.
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