Lateral flow assays (LFAs) are currently the most popular point-of-care diagnostics, rapidly transforming disease diagnosis from expensive doctor checkups and laboratory-based tests to potential on-the-shelf commodities. Yet, their sensitive element, a monoclonal antibody, is expensive to formulate, and their long-term storage depends on refrigeration technology that cannot be met in resource-limited areas. In this work, LCB1 affibodies (antibody mimetic miniproteins) were conjugated to bovine serum albumin (BSA) to afford a high-avidity synthetic capture (LCB1-BSA) capable of detecting the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein and virus like particles (VLPs). Substituting the monoclonal antibody 2B04 for LCB1-BSA (stable up to 60 °C) significantly improved the thermal stability, shelf life, and affordability of plasmonic-fluor-based LFAs (p-LFAs). Furthermore, this substitution significantly improved the sensitivity of p-LFAs toward the spike protein and VLPs with precise quantitative ability over 2 and 3 orders of magnitude, respectively. LCB1-BSA sensors could detect VLPs at 100-fold lower concentrations, and this improvement, combined with their robust nature, enabled us to develop an aerosol sampling technology to detect aerosolized viral particles. Synthetic captures like LCB1-BSA can increase the ultrasensitivity, availability, sustainability, and long-term accuracy of LFAs while also decreasing their manufacturing costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3096-3104
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sensors
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 28 2024


  • COVID-19
  • lateral flow assay
  • novel antibody synthesis
  • passive sampling
  • point-of-care
  • virus like particles


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