In recent years, the use of antibodies as a biomedical diagnostic tool has become more widespread. However, limitations for the use of antibodies in such biochip applications arise from the need for correct storage at regulated temperatures. To preserve the biofunctionality of antibodies they must be refrigerated from transport to storage and when handling, known as a cold chain system.
This cold chain system is inherently costly and carries a large environmental burden; therefore there is a great need for alternatives that overcome the storage issue. Moreover, the ability to use such bioassays in urban or rural clinics, in developing countries, on the battlefield and in disaster-struck regions is another important reason to find alternatives for antibody preservation.
Recently, a team of researchers developed a method to coat antibodies to protect them. The protective coating consists of a metal–organic framework (MOF) layer. The MOF enables the coated antibody to be stored at ambient and elevated temperatures, removing the need for the cold chain system.
MOFs are of increasing interest in many fields, including gas storage, drug delivery, catalysis and more, owning to their excellent properties such as large surface area and tunable porosity. In this recent work, antibody function is easily restored by a simple water washing process that removes the MOF coating. Additionally, the use of a bioplasmonic paper device makes the whole system more applicable for resource-limited settings such as in disaster zones.