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 (11) Patent Number: KE 269 (45) Date of grant: 07/08/2008
-moon
(19) Kenya Industrial Property Institute.
(12) PATENT
(51) Int.C1.: GO1N 33/558//33/569, 33/576,33/571
(21)Application    KE/P/ 1998/ 000133    (84) WO No. 99.36781 22/07/1999
Number:
(22) Filing Date:    29/12/1998
(31)Priority Number: 09/007,651    (32) Date:15/01/1998 (33) Country:US
(73) Owner(s): INVERNESS MEDICAL SWITZERLAND GmbH of BUNDESPLATZ 1 ZUG CH-6300., Switzerland
(72) Inventor(s)    YOSHIMURA ,TORU; OGASAWARA, TOSHIHIRO;
SAITO MICHIHIRO; and GROFF JOHN, P. (74)Agent/address for correspondence: W. R. Mca Spence, P.O. Box 43984, Nairobi  (54) Title:    NEUTRALIZATION OF POLYCATIONS IN A CHROMATOGRAPHIC DEVICE
FOR WHOLE BLOOD USE
(57) Abstract: A chromatographic assay device and method for use with whole blood samples utiliziling a red blood cell separating agent to aggregate red blood cells and permit plasma or serum to flow by capillary action and a neutralizing agent to neutralize any effects the red blood cell separating agent may have on the device and method.
 
Neutralization of Polycations 18 4 Chromatophic Device
for Whole Blood Use
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
5    The present invention relates to chromatography assay
devices and a method of detecting an analyte in a whole blood sample, and more particularly to a device and method employing a red blood cell separating agent to aggregate red blood cells, and a neutralizing agent to neutralize any
10        negative effect the red blood cell separating agent may
have on the assay system.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Modern clinical diagnostic methods are routinely
15    carried out on blood samples. Unfortunately, red blood
cells interfere with many diagnostic determinations. In assays for an analyte, red blood cells may inhibit binding between specific binding pair members. Likewise, red blood cells have enzyme activity which, depending on the assay
20    employed, may interfere with the signal produced. Further,
in a rapid test format using a chromatography assay device, particularly a chromatography immunoassay device, red blood
cells may inhibit fluid flow which is necessary for reactions to occur on the device. For these reason and
25 others, many assay methodologies are carried out on plasma or serum which must first be separated from a whole blood sample.
Many known techniques exist for separating red blood cells from plasma in a whole blood sample. Centrifugation
30    is a well known method in the art by which plasma (before
clotting) and serum (after clotting) is separated from whole blood. In this procedure, red blood cells settle at
 
2
the bottom of the test tube, and the serum is separated by decantation or some other method. Stratifying whole blood by centrifugation, however, has many disadvantages. Generally, centrifugation requires a large blood sample to
5    be drawn. Further, the process is time consuming and
requires cumbersome laboratory equipment often not maintained in a physician's office. Finally, the extra
handling of the blood increases the exposure to the potential hazards of blood-borne pathogens.
10    To reduce or eliminate the need for centrifugation,
assay devices have been developed which employ gradient membranes or trapping membranes to separate red blood cells from the liquid portion of the blood. Immobilized anti-red blood cell antibodies have also been used.
15    Other known techniques for separating red blood cells
from plasma or serum include (1) combining a whole blood sample with a red blood cell binding agent filtering the mixture through a solid bibulous element to which is bound at least one specific binding pair member to remove the
20        agglutinated red blood cells; (2) passing whole blood
through a glass microfiber filter which may or may not have
an agglutinating agent incorporated; (3) employing a barrier or exclusion layer of polysaccharide material to prevent red blood cells from passing through and
25    interfering with detection or visualization of a signal on
a dry test strip; and (4) using a support having a polycationic surface which binds red blood cells but not plasma.
Many of these techniques for the separation of red
30        blood cells from plasma are costly, complicated, may result
in incomplete separation of red blood cells, and may cause
 
3
hemolysis. Hemolysis leads to non-specific binding or high backgrounds causing a loss in assay sensitivity. This can
be the result of free hemoglobin which can color the detection zone such that the zone can obtain a color that
5    ranges from pink to dark maroon. As a result, the
production of a visual chemical signal can be wholly or partly obscured by the presence of the hemoglobin color in
the detection zone. Further, the use of a separating agent, such as a polycation, in an assay system tends to
10        interfere with the system, often by aggregating other
reagents or binding members in addition to the red blood
cells.
Accordingly, need exists for a device and method for
detecting an analyte in a blood sample without adversely
15    effecting the assay system. Such device and method should
be suitable for whole blood samples of various sizes,
including small samples.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
20    The present invention relates to a chromatography
device comprising a chromatography carrier which defines a path for fluid flow capable of supporting capillary flow, an application site for said blood sample in fluid flow contact with the chromatography carrier, a detection site
25    on the chromatography carrier spaced apart from the
application site, a diffusively bound labeled substance located downstream of the application site, a diffusively bound red blood cell separating agent for separating plasma or serum from the blood sample upstream of the detection
30    site, and a diffusively bound neutralizing agent capable of
binding with the separating agent downstream of the bound separating agent and upstream of said detection site whereby a positive charge of said separating agent is
neutralized. Preferably, the red blood cell separating agent is located at the application site so that the red
blood cells will be separated from the serum or plasma before the serum or plasma moves down the chromatography
S    carrier.
The present invention is also directed to a method for detecting the presence of an analyte in a sample,
preferably a blood sample, which comprises providing a chromatography carrier which defines a path for fluid flow
10    capable of supporting capillary flow, along which are (a)
an application site for the blood sample in fluid flow contact with said chromatography carrier, (b) a detection site on the chromatography carrier spaced apart from the application site, (c) a diffusively bound labeled substance
15    located downstream of the application site, (d) a
diffusively bound red blood cell separating agent for separating plasma or serum from said blood sample upstream of the detection site, and (e) a diffusively bound neutralizing agent capable of binding with the separating
20        agent located downstream of the bound separating agent and
upstream of the detection site whereby a positive charge of
the separating agent is neutralized; contacting the application site with the blood sample such that the red blood cell separating agent separates the plasma or serum
25    from the blood sample, and the neutralizing agent
neutralizes the positive charge of the separating agent as the sample flows along the flow path; and detecting the presence of analyte in the blood sample.
30    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Figure 1 depicts a preferred embodiment of the
chromatography assay device of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
35    The present invention is based on the observation that
red blood cells in whole blood samples interfere with
 
5
determinations of the presence or amount of analyte in a blood sample which might otherwise be readily made via assay systems. For example, in an immunoassay, a whole blood sample contacted with an application site is unlikely
5        to move down the strip via capillary action due to the
hindering or interfering presence of the red blood cells.
The present invention overcomes this problem without interfering with the sensitivity of the assay system.
The following definitions may be useful in
10    understanding the embodiments of the present invention
"Analyte" or ' analyte of interest" refers to the compound or the composition to be detected or measured,
which has at least one epitope or binding site. The analyte can be any substance for which there exists a
15 naturally occurring analyte-specific binding member or for which an analyte-specific binding member can be prepared. Analytes include, but are not limited to, toxins, organic compounds, proteins, peptides, microorganisms, amino acids, nucleic acids, hormones, steroids, vitamins, drugs
20    (including those administered for therapeutic purposes as
well as those administered for illicit purposes), and metabolites of or antibodies to any of the above
substances. The term "analyte" also includes any antigenic substances, haptens, antibodies, macromolecules
25    and combinations thereof.
' Chromatographic carrier" refers to any suitable
porous, absorbent, bibulous, isotropic or capillary material, which includes the detection site of the device
and through which the analyte or test sample can be
30        transported by capillary or wicking action. It will be
appreciated by one skilled in the art that the
 
6
chromatography carrier can be made of-a-s.material or more than one material (e.g., different zones, portions, layers, areas or sites can be made of different materials) so long as the multiple layers are in fluid flow contact
5    with one another thereby enabling the passage of test
sample between the materials. Fluid flow contact permits the passage of at least some components of the sample, i.e. analyte, between the zones of the porous material and is preferably uniform along the contact interface between the
10    different zones. Natural, synthetic, or naturally
occurring materials that are synthetically modified, can be used as the chromatography carrier and include, but are not limited to: paper (fibrous), or membranes (microporous) of cellulose materials such as paper; cellulose and cellulose
15 derivatives such as cellulose acetate and nitrocellulose; fiberglass; cloth, both naturally occurring (e.g. cotton) and synthetic (e.g. nylon); porous gels; and the like.
"Label" refers to any substance which is capable of producing a signal that is detectable by visual or
20        instrumental means. Various labels suitable for use in the
present invention include labels which produce signals
through either chemical or physical means. Examples include enzymes and substrates, chromagens, fluorescent compounds, chemiluminescent compounds, colored or colorable
25        organic polymer latex particles, and liposomes or other
vesicles containing directly visible substances.
Preferably, radioactive labels, colloidal metallic particles or colloidal non-metallic particles are employed
in the present invention. Preferred labels include
30    colloidal gold and latex particles.
 
" Labeled substance" or " onjugate" refers to a
substance comprising a detectable label attached to a specific binding member. The attachment may be covalent or non-covalent binding, and may include nucleic acid
5    hybridization. The label allows the labeled substance to
produce a detectable signal that is directly or indirectly related to the amount of analyte in a test sample. The specific binding member component of the labeled substance is selected to bind directly or indirectly to the analyte.
10        " Specific binding member" refers to a member of a
specific binding pair, i.e. two different molecules wherein
one of the molecules specifically binds to the second molecule through chemical or physical means. If the specific binding member is an immunoreactant it can be, for
15    example, an antibody, antigen, hapten, or complex thereof,
and if an antibody is used, it can be a monoclonal or polyclonal antibody, a recombinant protein or antibody, a chimeric antibody, a mixture(s) or fragment(s) thereof, as well as a mixture of an antibody and other specific binding
20    members. Specific examples of specific binding members
include biotin and avidin, an antibody and its corresponding antigen (both having no relation to a sample to be assayed), a single stranded nucleic acid and its complement, and the like.
25    "Trapping substance" refers to one or more specific
binding members that are attached within or upon a portion
of the chromatographic carrier to form one or more
" capture sites" wherein the analyte, labeled reagent, and/or control reagent become immobilized on the
30    chromatography carrier. The method of attachment is not
critical to the present invention. The trapping substance
 
8
facilitates the observation of the detectable signal by substantially separating the analyte and/or the labeled substance from unbound assay reagents and the remaining components in the test sample. The trapping substance may
5    be immobilized on the chromatography carrier before or
during the performance of the assay by means of any suitable attachment method. Further, the trapping substance may be provided in a single detection site or in multiple sites on or in the chromatography carrier. The
10        trapping substance may also be provided in a variety of
configurations to produce different detection or
measurement formats. For example, the trapping substance may be configured as a letter, number, icon, or symbol, or any combination thereof.
15    In particular, the present invention provides a
chromatography assay device for detecting the presence of an analyte in a sample, preferably a blood sample. The device is preferably in the form of a chromatographic strip having a chromatographic carrier defining a path for fluid
20    flow and which is capable of supporting capillary flow, an
application site for the blood sample, and a detection site spaced apart from the application site for detecting the presence or amount of analyte present in the blood sample. Preferably, the device also includes a labeled substance
25 (or conjugate) diffusively bound to the chromatographic carrier. In a preferred embodiment, the labeled substance will bind to the analyte or will compete with the analyte for binding at the detection site. The device preferably contains two additional agents diffusively bound to the
30        chromatographic carrier: (1) a red blood cell separating
agent upstream (hereinafter, the direction of the movement
 
9
of a sample caused by capillary action is called "downstream" ad the opposite direction is called "upstream" ) of the detection site which is capable of separating plasma or serum from the blood sample, and (2) a
5    neutralizing agent downstream of the red blood cell
separating agent and upstream of the detection site to neutralize any effect, particularly an adverse effect, of the red blood cell separating agent on the chromatography system.
10    In the context of the present invention, the phrase
"diffusively bound" as applied to a given reagent may be
defined as any reagent used in the present invention, including but not limited to, a labeled substance, specific binding member, red blood cell separating agent or
15    neutralizing agent, is intended to denote that the
reagent(s) is/are bound in a fashion that permits the bound reagent(s) to flow along the flow path.
For purposes of the present invention, any assay
system may be employed. Immunoassay systems are preferred,
20    including but not limited to, lateral flow systems,
vertical flow systems, soak systems, and dipsticks. A general description of known assay systems is set forth below.
Generally, in a chromatography strip, at least a
25    sample application site and a detection site are arranged
on a chromatography carrier. A sample solution, in this case preferably a blood sample, suspected of having an analyte of interest, i.e. an analyte, moves through the .chromatography carrier by capillary action when added to
30        the sample application site, and a labeled substance or
conjugate which is contained in a labeling means arranged
 
10
on a chromatography carrier in advance is accumulated at the detection site in direct or inverse proportion to the presence or quantity of the substance to be assayed in the sample solution, effected by a binding reaction (such as an
5    immunological reaction), so that the presence or quantity
of substance to be assayed in the sample solution can be found by measuring the presence or quantity of the thus accumulated labeled substance or conjugate. Various types of chromatography strips are known, and all of these known
10    chromatography strips, including those which will be
described later, can be used in the present invention. The term " chromatography assay device" as used herein means a chromatography strip which is produced in such a way that it can be used in an assay and is able to be stored and
15    transported.
The following describes a typical example of a chromatography strip. A sample application site may be located at the same place where the labeled substance is present, preferably at a position upstream of the labeled
20    substance. When a sample solution, suspected of containing
an analyte to be assayed, is contacted with the sample application site, the sample solution moves through the chromatography carrier in the downstream direction together with the analyte effected by capillary action. Typically,
25        the analyte is a compound which binds in a specific fashion
to a trapping substance fixed to the detection site, or it
is a compound which binds in a specific fashion to a conjugate that binds specifically to the trapping substance at the detection site. For example, the analyte is an
30        antibody when the trapping substance is an antigen or the
conjugate contains an antigen, and the analyte is an
 
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antigen when the trapping substance is an antibody or the conjugate contains an antibody. By way of further example, the analyte may be a nucleic acid which binds to a complementary conjugate and trapping substance.
5    When the sample application site is located at an
upstream position to a labeled substance, the labeled substance may be arranged adjacent to the sample application site or on a position disconnected from the sample application site.
10    Addition of the labeled substance can be effected by
various means, for example by adding it to a certain position outside the chromatography strip detection site after addition of the sample solution.
Since the labeled substance is arranged in such a
15    manner that it moves by the capillary action of the sample
solution, the labeled substance moves in the downstream direction when the sample solution is added to the sample adding means.
The detection site is generally located at a
20    downstream position from the labeled substance and at a
certain distance from the labeled substance. In the detection site, a trapping substance which binds only to an analyte or a conjugate in a specific fashion, or binds specifically to each of the substances to be assayed and a
25    labeled substance, is fixed to the chromatography carrier.
Consequently, in one embodiment the analyte (sometimes linked to a labeled substance), moved by capillary action of the sample solution, binds to the trapping substance or to a conjugate which in turn binds to the trapping
30        substance. The labeled substance binds to the thus bound
substance to be assayed, thereby effecting accumulation of
 
12
the labeled substance in the detecting means in response to the presence or quantity of the. analyte. Alternatively, the labeled substance and the analyte, moved by capillary action, bind competitively to the trapping substance or to
5        a conjugate which in turn binds to the trapping substance,
thereby effecting accumulation of the labeled substance in
inverse proportion to the quantity of substance to be assayed.
There is a case in which a certain labeled substance
10    binds both a trapping substance (or a conjugate which in
turn binds a trapping substance) and an analyte, but not simultaneously and, in that case, the analyte firstly binds to the labeled substance and the remaining labeled substance which did not bind to the substance to be assayed
15    binds to the trapping substance. In consequence, the
presence or quantity of the analyte can be analyzed by measuring the labeled substance accumulated in the detecting means.
As occasion demands, various substances are located 20    upstream of the detection site. For example, a conjugate
may be so located in .a movable manner.
In some cases, one or more additional detection sites may be arranged downstream of the first detection site..
Also, downstream of the detection site there may be a
25 further extension of the chromatography carrier so that a sample solution can be discharged completely or the carrier may be equipped with a material for use in the absorption of the sample solution.
Thus, the presence or quantity of an analyte of
30        interest in a sample solution can be found by measuring the
presence or quantity of a labeled substance accumulated in
 
13
the detection site. In one instance, this may be accomplished visually.
The present invention is intended to be used with any blood sample, including serum and plasma, but is preferably
5        used with a blood sample containing red blood cells, e.g.,
whole blood.
Before assaying for the analyte of interest in the blood sample, the red blood cells are preferably removed if the assay is to work with the desired sensitivity. Thus,
10    according to the present invention, a red blood cell
separating agent is bound to the chromatography carrier. Preferably, the red blood cell separating agent is diffusively bound to the chromatography carrier. The red blood cell separating agent may be bound to the
15    chromatography carrier at any location which will function
to separate the red blood cells from .the plasma or serum. It is preferably diffusively bound to the chromatographic carrier upstream of the detection site. Most preferably the red blood cell separating agent is diffusively bound at
20    the sample application site. This location is preferable
because it causes aggregation of the red blood cells as soon as they are applied to the chromatography carrier resulting in minimal, if any, interference in the flow of the serum or plasma along the carrier by capillary action.
25    The red blood cell separating agent of the present
invention may be any substance capable of aggregating red blood cells. Preferred agents are positively charged materials such as polycations, including e.g., poly-L-
lysine hydrobromide; poly(dimethyl diallyl ammonium)
30    chloride (Merquate-100, Merquate' 280, Merquat® 550); poly-
L-arginine hydrochloride; poly-L-histidine; poly(4-
 
14
vinylpyridine), poly(4-vinylpyridine) hydrochloride; poly(4-vinylpyridine)cross-linked, methylchloride quaternary salt; poly(4-vinylpyridine-co-styrene); poly(4- vinylpyridinium poly(hydrogen fluoride)); poly(4- vinylpyridinium-P-toluene sulfonate); poly(4- vinylpyridinium-tribromide); poly(4-vinylpyrrolidone-co-2- dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate); poly vinylpyrrolidone, cross-linked; poly vinylpyrrolidone, poly(melamine-co-formaldehyde); partially methylated; hexadimethrine
10    bromide; poly(Glu, Lys) 1:4 hydrobromide; poly(Lys, Ala)
3:1 hydrobromide; poly(Lys, Ala) 2:1 hydrobromide; poly-L¬lysine succinylated; poly(Lys, Ala) 1:1 hydrobromide; and
poly(Lys, Trp) 1:4 hydrobromide. The most preferred polycation is poly (dimethyl diallyl ammonium) chloride
15    (Merquat®-100).
The red blood cell separating agent of the present invention may be used in any suitable amount which functions to separate the red blood cells from the rest of the sample. Preferably, the red blood cell separating
20    agent may be present in a concentration of from about 0.04%
to about 1.3% (weight per volume), with from about 0.13% to about 0.33% (weight per volume) being more preferred, and about 0.20% to about 0.33% (weight per volume) being most preferred.
25    A positive charge on the red blood cell separating
agent has a tendency to aggregate any negatively charged
agent present on the strip. For example, a labeled substance or conjugate bound to the chromatography carrier may also be aggregated by the red blood cell separating
30        agent interfering with binding of the analyte to the
conjugate or, in a competitive assay, the binding of the
 
15
labeled substance and the analyte of interest to the trapping substance at the detection site or a conjugate. Ultimately, the sensitivity and accuracy of the immunoassay system may be compromised.
5    Accordingly, when the blood cell separating agent is a
positively charged material, the present invention preferably employs a neutralization agent. The neutralization agent is capable of neutralizing the positive charge of the red blood cell separating agent,
10    thereby eliminating or at least minimizing any interference
to the assay system caused by the red blood cell separating agent. Preferably, the neutralization agent is diffusively bound to the chromatographic carrier. The neutralizing
agent may be diffusively bound at any location on the
15    chromatographic carrier where it will function to
neutralize a red blood cell separating agent, but is preferably located downstream of the red blood cell separating agent and upstream of the detection site, and
more preferably is located at the same place on the
20    chromatography as the diffusively bound labeled substance.
The neutralizing agent may be any polyanion capable of neutralizing the positive charge of the red blood cell separating agent. Preferred polyanions include poly(acrylic acid), poly(acrylic acid, Na salt),
25    poly(methyl methacrylic acid), poly(Na-4-styrene
sulfonate), poly(vinyl sulfonic acid), poly-L-aspartic acid, and carboxymethyl cellulose, with dextran sulfate being the most preferred.
The neutralization agent may be present in any amount 30    which functions to neutralize the positive charge of the
red blood cell separating agent. Generally, the
 
16
concentration of the neutralization agent is dependent upon the concentration of the red blood cell separating agent being used. Preferably, the neutralizing agent is present in a concentration of from about 0.33% to about 20% (weight
5    per volume), with about 0.34% to about 10% (weight per
volume) being more preferred and 0.34% to 10% (weight per volume) being most preferred.
Figure 1 depicts an embodiment of an immunochromatography assay device according to the present
10    invention. The device 10 comprises a chromatography
carrier 20. Located on the chromatography carrier 20 is an application site 30 for the blood sample. In this preferred embodiment, the red blood cell separating agent,
i.e., Merquate 100, is located on the application site 30.
15    Adjacent to the application site 30 is a conjugate pad 40
containing the conjugate, i.e. selenium labeled binding substance and a neutralizing agent, i.e., dextran sulfate. Further downstream is the detection site 50 which after the assay has been run will exhibit a control bar 60 and if the
20    substance to be assayed is present, a test bar 70.
In another embodiment of the present invention, a buffer may be contacted with the application site, preferably after the application site has been contacted
with the sample. The buffer aids in maintaining an
25    acceptable fluid flow rate along the flow path on the
chromatographic carrier. The buffer may be any substance which is capable of flowing by capillary action along the fluid flow path including, but not limited to, phosphate buffer, phosphate buffer saline, Tris-HC1 buffer, carbonate
30        buffer, citrate buffer, HEPES (2-hydroxypiperazine-N'-2-
ethanesulfonic acid) buffer, MOPS (3-(N-
 
17
morpholino)propanesulfonic acid) buffer, MES (2-(N-
morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid) buffer, and the like. Although the concentration and pH may be any concentration and pH which will work in the desired assay device,
5    preferably the molarity is an a range of from about 10mM to
about 100mM and the pH is from about 5-9 and more preferably from about 6-8. Most preferably, the buffer employed is 50 mM phosphate buffer, pH 7.4.
The fluid volume employed in the present invention is
10 dependent upon the device size. Desirably, enough fluid volume is used to permit fluid flow through the device to the detection site. Preferably, the fluid volume is in a range of about 25 gl to about 100 gl, and more preferably from about 40 gl to about 60 gl. Accordingly, the buffer,
15 when needed, may be added in a volume range of from about 10 gl to about 40 p.1, and more preferably from about 20 pl to about 30 gl.
The present invention is also directed to a method for detecting the presence of an analyte in a blood sample.
20    Preferably, the method employs the chromatography
immunoassay device of the present invention. Specifically, the method comprises (1) providing a chromatography carrier which defines a path for fluid flow capable of supporting capillary flow, along which are an application site for the
25    blood sample which is in fluid contact with the
chromatography carrier, a detection site on the chromatography carrier spaced apart from the application site, a diffusively labeled substance (or a conjugate) which binds to or competes with the analyte for binding at
30        the detection site, a diffusively bound red blood cell
separating agent for separating plasma or serum from said
 
18
blood sample upstream of the detection site, and a conjugate bound to the chromatography carrier; (2) contacting the application site with the blood sample such that the red blood cell separating agent separates the red
5 blood cells from the plasma or serum of the blood sample, and the neutralizing agent neutralizes the positive charge of the separating agent; and (3) detecting the presence of analyte in the blood sample.
Preferably, the blood cell separating agent is a
10        positively charged material and the path of fluid flow
contains a diffusively bound neutralizing agent, which is
preferably capable of binding with said red blood cell separating agent and is located downstream of said red blood cell separating agent and upstream of said detection
15        site whereby the positive charge of said separating agent
is neutralized
Thus, in the preferred embodiment of Figure 1, a blood sample is applied to the application site 30 and the red blood cell separating agent separates the red blood cells
20        by aggregating them and permitting the plasma or serum to
move by capillary action down the chromatographic carrier
20. The neutralizing agent in the conjugate pad 40 neutralizes the effects of the red blood cell separating agent on the device 10 and conjugate and the analyte binds
25    to the conjugate present in the conjugate pad 40. The
analyte bound to the conjugate continues to move downstream to the detection site 50. If the analyte of interest is present the test bar 70 will appear. To indicate that the test is working properly, the control bar 60 will appear
30    whether the analyte of interest is present or not.
 
19
The present invention may preferably include a non-reactive cover or enclosure around the device. Preferably, the cover encloses at least the chromatography carrier to avoid contact with and contamination of the capture sites:
5    The cover may also include a raised area adjacent to the
application site to facilitate receiving and/or containing a certain volume of the sample. Additionally, the cover
may include a cut out area or areas in the form of a letter, number, icon, or symbol, or any combination
10        thereof. In this embodiment, the cut out area or areas
form the design for particular-detection site(s) when the
strip is completely closed. It is preferred that a sufficient portion of the strip be encased to prevent applied sample from contacting the detection sites without
15    first passing through a portion of the strip.
The device and method of the present invention may be used in any assay system in which a blood sample contains • an analyte of interest. Examples of preferred systems include, but are not limited to, Hepatitis C virus
20    ("HCV" ), hepatitis A virus (" HAV" ), Human
Immunodeficiency Virus ("HIV" ), hepatitis B surface antibody ("HBsAb" ), hepatitis B surface antigen. ("HBsAg" ), hepatitis B core antibody ("HBcAb" ), hepatitis B core antigen ("HBcAg" ), Carcinoembryonic
25    antigen (" CEA" ), alpha-fetoproten ("AFP" ), a pancreatic
cancer marker (" CA19-9" ), syphilis, tuberculosis, malaria, Leishmania, and Dengue fever.
The following examples further illustrate the present invention, but should not be construed, in any way, as
30    limiting its scope.
 
20
EXAMPLES
Example 1
Red Blood Cell Aggregation vs. Se-Conlugate 
Aggregation by Polycations
5    For the purpose of the present invention, aggregation
of red blood cells (rbc's) in whole blood is desired while
aggregation of the selenium conjugate is not wanted. Various polycations were tested to see which would cause
sufficient aggregation of rbc's while only minimally
10    aggregating the selenium conjugate.
Selenium conjugate of HIV-1 recombinant protein was prepared in the following manner: First, selenium colloid was prepared by reacting 32 mM selenium oxide with 91 mM L-ascorbic acid in an aqueous solution for 72 hours at 42°C.
15 This selenium colloid was diluted to an optical density of 30 at a wavelength of 550 nm and then reacted with 40 µg/ml of recombinant HIV-1 envelope protein in 30 mM Tris buffer, pH 7.4 for 20 minutes at room temperature. This selenium colloid-labeled HIV-1 protein conjugate was next diluted to
20    an optical density of 30 at a wavelength of 550 nm in 10 mM
Tris buffer, pH 7.4 containing 0.1t casein, and incubated for 20 minutes at room temperature. The conjugate solution was then centrifuged at 1970 x g for 20 minutes at 4°C, the supernatant removed and the pellet discarded. A volume of
25 30 mM Tris buffer, pH 7.4 containing 20 casein, equivalent to one-tenth the volume of the supernatant, was then added to the supernatant. Finally, this conjugate solution was diluted to an optical density of 10 at a wavelength of 550 nm in 50 mM Tris buffer, pH 7.4 containing to casein, 20
30    sucrose and 2t lactose.
 
21
Aqueous solutions of the following polycations were
prepared at 0.250 (w/v): Poly-L-Lysine hydrobromide, molecular weight (mw) 37000; Poly-L-Arginine hydrochloride,
mw 12100, 42400 and 92000; Poly--L-Histidine, mw 18400;
5    Hexadimethrine bromide, Poly (Lysine, Alanine) 3:1
hydrobromide, mw 35000; Poly (Lysine, Alanine) 2:1 hydrobromide, mw 49300; Poly (Lysine, Alanine) 1:1
hydrobromide, mw 41600, Poly (Lysine, Tryptophan) 1:4 hydrobromide, mw 38000 (All of the above polycations were
10    purchased from Sigma, St. Louis, MO);
Poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride), mw 105 to 106 (Merquate-100, Calgon, Pittsburgh, PA).
The ability of these polycations to aggregate either
rbc's in whole blood or the selenium conjugate were
15    observed in separate reactions by adding 350 pl of 0.250 of
the various polycation solutions to an equal volume of either whole blood or the selenium conjugate. The solutions were mixed and stored at room temperature for 10 minutes, then aggregation was evaluated visually. The
20 results are summarized in Table 1. A one-plus (+) indicates weak aggregation, 2+ indicates moderate aggregation, and 3+ and 4+ indicate strong aggregation.
 
22
TABLE 1
                Aggregation
Polycation    Molecular
Weight    i    Red Blood
Cells    Se-Conjugate
>
Poly-L-Lys HBr    '    37000        2+        2+
Merquate-100    10' to 106        2+        2+
Poly-L-Arg HC1    12100        2+        2+
Poly-L-Arg HC1    42400        2+        2+
Poly-L-Arg HC1    92000        2+        2+
Poly-L-His    18400    I    +        4+
Hexadimethrine
Br            +        +
Poly (Lys,
Ala)    3:1 HBr    35000        2+        2+
Poly (Lys,
Ala) 2:1 HBr    49300        +        2+
Poly (Lys,
Ala)    1:1 HBr    41600        +        2+
Poly (Lys,
Trp)    1:4 HBr    38000        3+        3+

A polycation that causes aggregation of rbc's (2+ or
5    greater) while causing minimal aggregation of selenium
conjugate (2+ or less) would be a good choice. Those polycations with a 2+ in both categories fit this criteria.
Poly-L-Lysine HBr and Merquate-100 were chosen for further
work, with Merquate-100 being the most cost effective.
 
23
Example 2
Preventing Conjugate Aggregation with Polvanion 
Neutralization
5    A.    Conjugate Flow and Aggregation Prevention using
Dextran Sulfate    Using Poly-L-Lysine as the polycation
rbc aggregating reagent, various concentrations of the polyanion dextran sulfate were tested to see if the positive charge of the polycation could be neutralized by
10    the dextran sulfate, thus preventing aggregation of the
selenium conjugate caused by the polycation. The dextran sulfate was added after the polycation had already caused aggregation of the rbc's to occur, but prior to the polycation interaction with the selenium conjugate. The
15    following experiment evaluated the effect of the polycation
and dextran sulfate on the aggregation of the selenium conjugate and its subsequent ability to flow along the immunochromatography strip.
An immunochromatography strip, composed of a Sample
20    Pad, a Neutralization Pad, a Conjugate Pad, and a Detection
Strip, was assembled. The Sample Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 20 mm long glass fiber filter (Lypore 9524, Lydall, Rochester, NH) in an aqueous solution of 0.33% Poly-L-Lysine hydrobromide, mw 37000 (Sigma, St.
25    Louis, MO), then drying it under vacuum.
Neutralization Pads, containing different concentrations of Dextran Sulfate, were prepared by soaking 4 mm wide by 13 mm long filters made of wood pulp and polyester (Sontara 8801, Du pont, Wilmington, Delaware) in
30    aqueous solutions containing 0%, 1.1%, 3.3% or 10% Dextran
 
24
Sulfate, mw 5000 (Sigma, St. Louis, MO). After soaking, the pads were dried under vacuum.
The Conjugate Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 4.3 mm long glass fiber filter (Lypore 9524, Lydall,
5    Rochester, NH) in selenium colloid-labeled HIV-1
recombinant protein conjugate prepared and diluted as in Example 1. After soaking, the Conjugate Pad was dried under vacuum.
The Detection Strip was a 4 mm wide by 40 mm long
10    nitrocellulose membrane filter (catalogue #H9643G1,
Millipore, Bedford, MA). HIV-1 envelope antigen at a concentration of 5 mg/ml in 100 mM Tris buffer, pH 7.4
containing 1-% sucrose was added to the nitrocellulose membrane so as to form a line across the width of the strip
15    at a position about 1 cm from the end of the membrane. The
lined region was backed with Polyester Laminate (code # 7733, Adhesives Research Inc., Glen Rock, PA). This was allowed to dry sufficiently so as to fix the antigen to the nitrocellulose.
20    Immunochromatography strips, 4 mm wide, were assembled
using the components above by placing them end-to-end longitudinally with a 1 mm overlap between each section, with the 20 mm long Sample Pad at one end, next to which
was placed one of the 13 mm long Neutralization Pads,
25    followed by a 4.3 mm long Conjugate Pad, and finally a 40
mm long Detection Strip. The assembled strip was then covered with Polyester Laminate (code #8648, Adhesives Research Inc., Glen Rock, PA) from the top of the Detection
Strip to 10 mm from the bottom of the strip, leaving
30    approximately 10' mm of the Sample Pad exposed.    Eighty Al
of plasma was then applied to the Sample Pads of each of
 
25
the immunochromatography strips containing Neutralization Pads with either 0%, 1.1%, 3.3% or 10% Dextran Sulfate. Aggregation of the red selenium conjugate and the ability
of the conjugate to flow along the strip were observed
5    visually.
Results, shown in Table 2 below, indicated that, without the presence of Dextran Sulfate to neutralize the charge from the polycation solution, the selenium conjugate aggregated and was not able to flow along the strip. There
10    was an inverse relationship between conjugate aggregation
and flow, with concentrations of Dextran Sulfate of 3.3% or greater being sufficient to prevent conjugate aggregation and allow conjugate to flow along the strip.
15    TABLE 2

Dextran Sulfate
Concentration    Conjugate
Aggregation    Conjugate Flow
0%    4..e.    -
1.1%    +   
3.3%    -    +
10%    -    +

B.    RBC Aggregation in the Presence of Dextran
Sulfate In order to assess the affect of dextran sulfate on rbc aggregation, the above experiment was repeated using
20        whole blood as the sample with 10% Dextran Sulfate on a 4.3
mm long by 4 mm wide Neutralization Pad. After assembling
the immunochromatography strip as above, using this Neutralization Pad, 80 gl of whole blood was applied to the Sample Pad. Fifteen minutes later, the result of rbc
25    aggregation was observed visually and the ability of the
 
26
resultant plasma to flow along the strip was measured. The rbc's aggregated, being retained on the Sample Pad, and did not flow onto the strip, while the plasma flowed 33 mm along the strip in 15 minutes. This indicated that the
5    polycation in the Sample Pad was still able to cause
aggregation of the rbc's in the whole blood sample, and that the presence of the polyanion, Dextran Sulfate, in the Neutralization Pad did not interfere with this rbc aggregation.
10    C.    Coniugate Aggregation Prevention by Polyanions
Other polyanions were tested to evaluate their ability to prevent aggregation of the selenium conjugate as in Example 2.A. A 15.5 mm long by 4 mm wide Sample Pad was soaked in
an aqueous solution containing 0.26 k Merquat6-100, then
15    dried at 55°C. Neutralization Pads were not used, and
instead the selenium conjugate was diluted in 10 mM Tris buffer, pH 7.4 containing 1% casein, 2% sucrose, 20 lactose and 0%, 1.1% or 3.3% of the polyanion Dextran Sulfate, mw 5000 (Sigma, St. Louis, MO), or 0%, 0.5%, 1% or 2%., of one
20    of the following polyanions (all from Aldrich Chemical Co.,
Milwaukee, WI): Poly (acrylic acid), mw 5000; Poly (sodium-4-styrene sulfonate), mw 70,000; Poly (vinyl sulfonic acid, sodium salt); Poly (methyl methacrylic acid), mw 9500; Poly (acrylic acid, sodium salt), mw 2100.
25    Conjugate Pads were soaked in the various selenium
conjugate solutions and dried under vacuum. The Detection Strip was prepared as in Example 2.A. and immunochromatography strips were assembled. Fifty pl of plasma was then applied to the Sample Pads of each of the
30        immunochromatography strips containing Conjugate Pads with
the various polyanions. Aggregation of the red selenium
 
27
conjugate was observed visually. Table 3 shows the
relative amount of conjugate aggregation seen with the various concentrations of polyanions tested.
5    TABLE 3
Selenium Conjugate Aggregation

    Polyanion Concentration
Polyanion    Ot    0.5%    1-1.1t    2%    3.3%
Dextran Sulfate    ++    nt    +    nt    -
Poly(acrylic acid)    ++    -    -    -    nt
Poly(Na-4-styrene
sulfonate)    ++    ++    ++    +    nt
Poly(vinyl sulfonic
acid)    ++    +/-    -    -    -nt
Poly(methyl
methacrylic acid)    ++    -    -    -    nt
Poly(acrylic acid, Na salt)    ++    +    +/-    -    nt
nt = not tested
As before, the selenium conjugate aggregated if there was not a polyanion present to neutralize the positive
10    charge of the polycation from the Sample Pad (which is
necessary for rbc aggregation when testing whole blood). All of the polyanions used in the Conjugation Pad prevented conjugate aggregation from occurring at at least one of the concentrations tested. This experiment also showed that
15    the polyanion did not have to be applied to a separate pad,
but could be combined with the selenium conjugate on the Conjugation Pad.
 
28
Example 3
Use of Dextran Sulfate in Neutralization Pad
vs. Conjugation Pad in an HIV-1 Antibody Assay
5    Immunochromatography strips were prepared as in
Example 2.A. either with or without a 4 mm wide by 4.3 mm long glass fiber filter (Lypore 9524, Lydall, Rochester, NH) Neutralization Pad. When used, the Neutralization Pad was soaked in an aqueous solution containing 3.3% Dextran
10    Sulfate, then dried under vacuum. In strips without a
Neutralization Pad, the selenium conjugate was diluted in 10 mM Tris buffer, pH 7.4 containing 1% casein, 2% sucrose, 2% lactose and 3.3% Dextran Sulfate, and the Conjugate Pad was soaked in this solution then dried under vacuum. The
15        Sample Pad used was as in Example 2.A. except that it was
soaked in an aqueous solution of 0.2% Merquate-100.
Human serum containing HIV-1 antibodies was diluted 1:2048 into either HIV negative human whole blood (based on plasma volume) with a hematocrit value of 50% or into HIV
20 negative human plasma. Three further 1:2 serial dilutions were made, again using either whole blood or plasma as the diluent. Eighty gl of negative whole blood or samples from the HIV-1 positive whole blood dilution series were added to the Sample Pad of immunochromatography strips prepared
25    with Dextran Sulfate on a separate Neutralization Pad or
Dextran Sulfate in the selenium conjugate solution on the Conjugate Pad. Eighty pl of negative plasma or samples from the HIV-1 positive plasma dilution series were tested only on immunochromatography strips with Dextran Sulfate on
30        the Conjugate Pad. Results were read 15 minutes after
sample application (Table 4). A positive result showed a
 
29
red color on the Detection Strip where the red selenium HIV-1 antigen conjugate-HIV-1 antibody complex was bound to
the HIV-1 antigen on the lined region of the strip. A negative result showed no color at this region on the
5    Detection Strip.
TABLE 4
    Dextran Sulfate
in
Neutralization
Pad    Dextran Sulfate in
Conjugate Pad
Sample
Dilution    I    Whole Blood    Whole Blood    -    Plasma
1:2048    +    +    +
1:4096    +    +    +
1:8192    -    +    +
1:16384    nt    -    -
Negative
Control    -    -    -
nt = not tested
10    The results in Table 4 indicate that HIV-1 antibodies
are detectable from whole blood in an immunochromatography strip assay using the polycation Merquate-100 to aggregate rbc's and allow sample to flow along the strip, and the polyanion Dextran Sulfate as a neutralizing agent,
15    preventing aggregation of the selenium conjugate by the
polycation and allowing the conjugate to bind and form a complex with a positive sample and flow along the strip to the detection area. The polyanion was shown to be effective when used either in a separate Neutralization Pad
20        or combined with the selenium conjugate on the Conjugate
Pad. In this assay, the sensitivity for detecting HIV-1
 
30
antibodies showed a 2-fold improvement when the polyanion (Dextran Sulfate) was used in the Conjugate Pad rather than on a separate Neutralization Pad.
Additionally, the results in Table 4 indicate that the
5    polycation is effectively aggregating the rbc's in the
whole blood as shown by the equal sensitivity of detection of HIV-1 antibodies whether in whole blood, where the rbc's must be aggregated for the sample to flow, or plasma, where there are no rbc's to prevent sample flow. This also shows
10    that the presence of the polyanion, in either a separate
Neutralization Pad or in the Conjugate Pad, does not interfere with the ability of the polycation to effectively cause aggregation of rbc's in whole blood.
15    Example 4
Use of Merquat® and Various Polyanions in an HBsAcr Assay
Immunochromatography strips were prepared for the detection of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in whole blood samples. Merquat®-100 was used as the polycation for
20        the aggregation of rbc's in the Sample Pad, and various
polyanions were evaluated in the Conjugate Pad as
polycation neutralization reagents to prevent aggregation of the selenium conjugate.
Immunochromatography strips, composed of a Sample Pad, 25    a Conjugate Pad, and a Detection Strip, were assembled. The
Sample Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 15.5 mm
long glass fiber filter in an aqueous solution of 0.26%
Merquat®-100, then drying it at 55°C.
The selenium conjugate was prepared using selenium 30    colloid, as in Example 1, and 12 µg/ml mouse monoclonal
 
31
antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs). This selenium colloid-labeled anti-HBs conjugate was then diluted to an optical density of 2.6 at a wavelength of 550 nm in Tris buffer containing one of the following polyanions: 0.5% Poly
5    (acrylic acid), mw 2000 (PAA-2000); 0.5% Poly (acrylic
acid), mw 240,000 (PAA-240,000); 0.5% Dextran Sulfate, mw 5000; 0.8% Poly-L-aspartic acid, mw 36,300; 0.5% Carboxymethyl cellulose, mw 90,000 (CMC). The Dextran
Sulfate and Poly-L-aspartic acid were from Sigma, St.
10        Louis, MO, and the remaining polyanions were from Aldrich
Chemical Co., Milwaukee, WI.
The Conjugate Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 4.3 mm long glass fiber filter in selenium colloid-labeled anti-HEs conjugate prepared and diluted with one of
15        the polyanions above. After soaking, the Conjugate Pad was
dried under vacuum.
The Detection Strip was a 4 mm wide by 40 mm long nitrocellulose membrane filter, prepared as in Example 2 using mouse monoclonal anti-HEs at a concentration of 3
20    mg/m1 and added to the nitrocellulose membrane so as to
form a line across the width of the strip at a position about 1 cm from the end of the membrane. The lined region was backed with Polyester Laminate. This was allowed to dry sufficiently so as to fix the antibody to the
25    nitrocellulose.
Immunochromatography strips were assembled using the components above by placing them end-to-end longitudinally, with a 1 mm overlap, with the Sample Pad at one end, next
to which was placed a Conjugate Pad, and finally a
30    Detection Strip. The assembled strip was then covered with
 
32
Polyester Laminate, leaving approximately 10 mm of the Sample Pad exposed.
Recombinant HBsAg was added to HBsAg negative human whole blood with a hematocrit value of 506 to a
5    concentration of 12.5 ng/ml. Three further 1:2 serial
dilutions were made in whole blood. Fifty gl of negative whole blood or samples from the HBsAg positive whole blood dilution series were, added to the Sample Pad of immunochromatography strips prepared with various
10    polyanions in the Conjugate Pad. Results were read 15
minutes after sample application (Table 5). A positive result showed a red color on the Detection Strip where the red selenium anti-HEs conjugate-HBsAg complex was bound to the anti-HEs on the lined region of the strip. A negative
15        result showed no color at this region on the Detection
Strip. Aggregation of the red selenium conjugate at the
entrance to the Detection Strip was observed visually.
TABLE 5
    Concentration of HBsAg
(nghal)   
Polyanion    12.5    6.25    -'
3.13    1.56    0    Conjugate
Aggregation
PAA-2000    +    +    +    -    -    -
PAA-240,000    +            -    -    +
Dextran
Sulfate    +    +    +    -    -    -
Poly-L-Asp    +    +    +    -    -    -
CMC    +    -    -    -    -    +
20
While all polyanions allowed HBsAg detection to occur, those polyanions that prevented conjugate aggregation, PAA-
 
33
2000, Dextran Sulfate and Poly-L-aspartic acid, exhibited a 2 to 4-fold more sensitive detection of HBsAg in whole blood samples.
The above experiment was repeated, using the selenium
5    colloid-labeled conjugate diluted in Tris buffer containing
PAA-2000 as the polyanion, except 25 gl of 50 mM phosphate buffer, pH 7.4, was added to the sample pad one minute
after addition of the HBsAg whole blood samples. The results obtained using this procedure, with the addition of
10    the buffer after the sample application, were identical to
the results without this step. Thus, these assays can be done either with or without addition of buffer after sample application.
15    Example 5
Use of Merquat® and Dextran Sulfate
in an Assay for Tuberculosis
Immunochromatography strips were prepared for the
detection of antibody to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (anti-
20    Mtb) in whole blood samples. Merquat®-100 was used as the
polycation for the aggregation of rbc's in the Sample Pad, and various concentrations of the, polyanion Dextran Sulfate
were evaluated in the Conjugate Pad as the polycation neutralization reagent to prevent aggregation of the
25    selenium conjugate.
Immunochromatography strips, composed of a Sample Pad, a Conjugate Pad, and a Detection Strip, were assembled. The Sample Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 15.5 mm long glass fiber filter in an aqueous solution of 0.26%
30    Merquat®-100, then drying it in a vacuum.
 
34
The selenium conjugate was prepared using selenium colloid, as in Example 1, and 3.5 µg/ml of recombinant Mtb antigen from E. co/i. This selenium colloid-labeled Mtb conjugate was then diluted to an optical density of 2.5 at
5        a wavelength of 550 nm in Tris buffer containing either 0%,
0.34%, 1.1% or 3.3% Dextran Sulfate.
The Conjugate Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 4.3 mm long glass fiber filter in selenium colloid-labeled Mtb conjugate, prepared and diluted with one of the
10        Dextran Sulfate concentrations above. After soaking, the
Conjugate Pad was dried under vacuum.
The Detection Strip was a 4 mm wide by 40 mm long nitrocellulose membrane filter, prepared as in Example 2 using recombinant Mtb antigen at a concentration of 0.15
15    mg/ml and added to the nitrocellulose membrane so as to
form a line across the width of the strip at a position about 1 cm from the end of the membrane. The lined region was backed with Polyester Laminate. This was allowed to dry sufficiently so as to fix the antigen to the
20    nitrocellulose.
Immunochromatography strips were assembled using the components above by placing them end-to-end longitudinally, with a 1 mm overlap, with the Sample Pad at one end, next
to which was placed a Conjugate Pad, and finally a
25    Detection Strip. The assembled strip was then covered with
Polyester Laminate, leaving approximately 10 mm of the Sample Pad exposed.
Anti-Mtb positive serum was diluted 1:100 into
negative human whole blood with a hematocrit value of 50%.
30        Two further 1:2 serial dilutions were made in whole blood.
Fifty Al of negative whole blood or samples from the anti-
 
35
Mtb positive whole blood dilution series were added to the Sample Pad of immunochromatography strips prepared with various concentrations of Dextran Sulfate in the Conjugate Pad. Results were read 15 minutes after sample application
5    (Table 6). A positive result showed a red color on the
Detection Strip where the red selenium Mtb conjugate-anti¬Mtb complex was bound to the Mtb on the lined region of the strip. A negative result showed no color at this region on
the Detection Strip. Aggregation of the red selenium
10        conjugate at the entrance to the Detection Strip was
observed visually.
TABLE 6
Dextran
Sulfate    Anti-Mtb Dilution   
(%)    1:100    1:200    1:400    Neg.
Control    Conjugate
Aggregation
0    _.    -    -    -    -    ++
0.34    -    -        -    ++
1.1    —    +    -    -    -    +
3.3    +    +    -    -    -

15    The data in Table 6 shows that the assay does not work
without the presence of a polyanion, in this case Dextran Sulfate, to prevent aggregation of the conjugate. There is an inverse relationship between conjugate aggregation and assay sensitivity. At a Dextran Sulfate concentration of
20        3.3k, no conjugate aggregation occurs and the assay shows
the most sensitive detection of anti-Mtb.
 
36
Example 6
Syphilis Assay using Merquate and Dextran Sulfate
Immunochromatography strips were prepared for the
5    detection of antibody to Treponema pallidum (anti-TP) in
whole blood or plasma samples. By comparing sensitivity of detection in whole blood to plasma, one could determine
whether rbc's in whole blood were effectively being aggregated by the polycation so as not to interfere with
10    and thereby decrease the sensitivity of detection of the
assay. Merquate-100 was used as the polycation for the aggregation of rbc's in the Sample Pad, and the poly-anion
Dextran Sulfate was used in the Conjugate Pad as the polycation neutralization reagent to prevent aggregation of
15    the selenium conjugate.
Immunochromatography strips, composed of a Sample Pad, a Conjugate Pad, and a Detection Strip, were assembled. The Sample Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 15.5 mm long glass fiber filter in an aqueous solution of 0.21,-
20    Merquat°-100, then drying it at 55°C.
The selenium conjugate was prepared using selenium
colloid, as in Example 1, and 7.5 pg /ml of Treponema pallidum lysate (TP). This selenium colloid-labeled TP conjugate was then diluted to an optical density of 2.8 at
25        a wavelength of 550 nm in Tris buffer containing 3.3%
Dextran Sulfate.
The Conjugate Pad was prepared by soaking a 4 mm wide by 4.3 mm long glass fiber filter in the selenium colloid-labeled TP conjugate prepared above. After soaking, the
30    Conjugate Pad was dried under vacuum.
 
37
The Detection Strip was a 4 mm wide by 40 mm long nitrocellulose membrane filter, prepared as in Example 2 using Treponema pallidum lysate at a concentration of 44 µg/ml and added to the nitrocellulose membrane so as to
5    form a line across the width of the strip at a position
about 1 cm from the end of the membrane. The lined region was backed with Polyester Laminate. This was allowed to dry sufficiently so as to fix the TP lysate to the nitrocellulose.
10    Immunochromatography strips were assembled using the
components above by placing them end-to-end longitudinally, with a 1 mm overlap, with the Sample Pad at one end, next to which was placed a Conjugate Pad, and finally a Detection Strip. The assembled strip was then covered with
15        Polyester Laminate, leaving approximately 10 mm of the
Sample Pad exposed.
Anti-TP positive human serum was diluted 1:10.8 into either negative human whole blood with a hematocrit value of 500 or into negative human plasma. Four further 1:2
20    serial dilutions were made, again using either whole blood
or plasma as the diluent. Sixty gl of negative whole blood or plasma, or samples from the anti-TP positive whole blood or plasma dilution series were added to the Sample Pad of the Immunochromatography strips. Results were read 15
25    minutes after sample application (Table 7). A positive
result showed a red color on the Detection Strip where the red selenium TP conjugate-anti-TP complex was bound to the TP lysate on the lined region of the strip. A negative result showed no color at this region on the Detection
30    Strip.
 
38
Table 7 shows that the sensitivity for detection of anti-TP was the same in both whole blood and plasma,
indicating the polycation, Merquat5-100, effectively aggregated the rbc's in the whole blood.
5
TABLE 7
Anti-TP Sample
Dilution    Whole Blood    Plasma
1:10.8    +    +
1:21.6    +    +
1:43.2    +    +
1:86.4    +    +
1:172.8    -    -
Negative
Control    -    -

All publications, patents, and patent applications cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the
10    same extent as if each individual document were
individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.
While this invention has been described with emphasis upon preferred embodiments, it will be obvious to
15    those of ordinary skill in the art that the preferred
embodiments may be varied. It is intended that the invention be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within spirit and scope of the
20        invention as set forth in the specification and
accompanying claims.
 
NEW CLAIMS:
1.    A chromatography assay device for detecting the presence of an analyte in a blood sample comprising:
a chromatography carrier which defines a path for fluid flow and supports capillary flow,
an application site for said blood sample in fluid flow contact with said chromatography carrier,
a detection site on said chromatography carrier spaced apart from said application site having a non-diffusively bound trapping substance bound thereto,
a diffusively bound labeled substance located downstream of said application site,
a diffusively bound polycation for separating plasma or serum from said blood sample upstream of said detection site, and
a diffusively bound polyanion for neutralizing the polycation downstream of said bound polycation and upstream of said detection site.
2.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said device is an immunoassay device.
3.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said polycation is bound at said site for application of said blood sample.
4.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said polycation is selected from the group consisting of poly-L-lysine hydrobromide, poly-L-arginine hydrochloride, poly-L-histidine, poly(lysine, alanine) 3:1 hydrobromide, poly(lysine, alanine) 2:1 hydrobromide, poly(lysine, alanine) 1:1 hydrobromide, poly(lysine, tryptophan) 1:4 hydrobromide, and poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride).
 
5.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said polycation is poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride).
6.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said polyanion is selected from the group consisting of dextran sulfate, poly(acrylic acid), poly(sodium-4-styrene sulfonate), poly(vinyl sulfonic acid), poly(methyl methacrylic acid), poly-L-aspartic acid and carboxymethyl cellulose.
7.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said polyanion is dextran sulfate.
8.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said polyanion.is diffusively bound to the chromatography carrier at the same location as said labeled substance.
9.    The chromatography assay device of claim 1, wherein said labeled substance is a selenium labeled substance.
10.    A method for detecting the presence of an analyte in a blood sample comprising the steps of:
providing a chromatography carrier which defines a path for fluid flow and supports capillary flow, along which are (a) an application site for said blood sample in fluid flow contact with said chromatography carrier, (b) a detection site on said chromatography carrier spaced apart from said application site having a non-diffusively bound trapping substance bound thereto, (c) a labeled substance located downstream of said application site, (d) a diffusively bound polycation for separating plasma or serum from said blood sample upstream of said detection site, and
 
(e) a diffusively bound polyanion for neutralizing the polycation located downstream of said bound polycation and upstream of said detection site;
contacting said application site with said blood sample; and
detecting the presence of analyte in said blood sample.
11.    The chromatography assay device of claim 10, wherein said labeled substance is a selenium labeled substance.
12.    The method of claim 10, wherein said polyanion is diffusively bound to the chromatography carrier at the same location as said labeled substance.
13.    The method of claim 10,-wherein said polycation is selected from the group consisting of poly-L-lysine hydrobromide, poly-L-arginine hydrochloride, poly-L-histidine, poly(lysine, alanine) 3:1 hydrobromide, poly(lysine, alanine) 2:1 hydrobromide, poly(lysine, alanine) 1:1 hydrobromide, poly(lysine, tryptophan) 1:4 hydrobromide, and poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride).
14.    The method of claim 10, wherein polyanion is selected from the group consisting of dextran sulfate, poly(acrylic acid), poly(sodium-4-styrene sulfonate), polyvinyl sulfonic acid), poly(methyl methacrylic acid), poly-L-aspartic acid and carboxymethyl cellulose.
 
ABSTRACT
A chromatography assay device and method for use with whole blood samples utilizing a red blood
cell separating agent to aggregate red blood cells and permit plasma or serum to flow by capillary
5 action and a neutralizing agent to neutralize any effects the red blood cell separating agent may have on the device and method.

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