'Dipstick' test for drug detection devised


CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say they have developed a "dipstick" test for detecting cocaine and other drugs in saliva, urine or blood serum.

Researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign say the test is based upon DNA-gold nanoparticle technology and can be packaged in user-friendly kits similar to those used for home pregnancy tests.

"Building upon our earlier work with lead sensors, we constructed colorimetric sensors that are based on the lateral flow separation of aptamer-linked nanostructures," said chemistry Professor Yi Lu. "The new sensors offer a quick and convenient test that can be utilized by first responders or emergency room staff to quickly screen individuals for a variety of drugs and other chemicals."

The work -- funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory -- has been accepted for publication in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition and posted on the journal's Web site.