Lab research being done on porcine diseases.

MN Impact: UMN researchers develop a portable handheld platform that detects veterinary pathogens in swine

October 25, 2019


Research will support a more sustainable, diverse and resilient food system (Measure: number of new or improved innovations developed for food enterprises. Measure: number of new diagnostic systems analyzing plant and animal pests and diseases).


Pork production has an estimated $23.5 billion gross output and respiratory diseases can affect up to 50 percent of the herd. Despite this, advances in enhancing diagnostic capacity for porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC) remain stagnant.

What has been done

Maxim Cheeran and JP Wang, along with their colleagues have developed a portable handheld platform that detects veterinary pathogens in clinical samples. They standardized a giant magnetoresistance-based (GMR) immunoassay as a wash-free single step protocol that integrates seamlessly into the handheld GMR-biosensor platform to detect swine influenza. 


Six nasal swab samples were tested using the one-step GMR assay and compared with standard lab-based ELISA. The results of this preliminary trial showed complete congruence of the wash-free GMR assay with ELISA for Influenza A Virus (IAV). In addition, they found the wash-free IAV GMR test could detect as low as 250 (TCID50) infectious viral particles per ml of clinical sample with real-time signals developing within four minutes. Furthermore, the testing kit consisting of the GMR chip and the reagent mixture could cost as low as $3/test.

To multiplex the GMR platform, a PRRSV and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae detection system using the same method is being developed, which would enable the diagnosis of all three PRDC pathogens simultaneously leading to huge economic implications for the pork industry.