The Flaviviridae virus family was named after the Yellow-fever virus, and the latin term flavi means “of golden color”. Dengue, caused by Dengue virus (DENV), is one of the most important infectious diseases worldwide. A sensitive and differential diagnosis is crucial for patient management, especially due to the occurrence of serological cross-reactivity to other co-circulating flaviviruses. This became particularly important with the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) in areas were DENV seroprevalence was already high. We developed a sensitive and specific diagnostic test based on gold nanorods (GNR) functionalized with DENV proteins as nanosensors. These were able to detect as little as one picogram of anti-DENV monoclonal antibodies and highly diluted DENV-positive human sera. The nanosensors could differentiate DENV-positive sera from other flavivirus-infected patients, including ZIKV, and were even able to distinguish which DENV serotype infected individual patients. Readouts are obtained in ELISA-plate spectrophotometers without the need of specific devices.
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