In response to a broad-based need for point-of-care multiplex diagnostic capability, we have developed a novel hybrid platform to analyze optically encoded microspheres arranged on a 2-dimensional planar array. The microspheres which we have initially selected are developed by Luminex Inc. as substrates for sandwich-type fluorescent immunoassays and are typically used in conjunction with a customized flow analyzer. CCD-based optics are the essential feature which enables the development of a rugged diagnostic instrument which can be scaled for point-of-care applications. We have characterized the Multiplex Immunoassay Diagnostic System (MIDS) using a benchtop prototype built around a conventional 12-bit CCD. This system is capable of resolving up to 6 discrete classes of fluorescent microbeads, and measuring their corresponding reporter signal. The MIDS sensitivity to the phycoerythrin (PE) reporter compared favorably to that of the reference Luminex flow system, and is capable of identifying viral, bacterial, and protein simulants in laboratory samples, at concentrations less than 1μg/ml. The ability to
resolve small differences in the average PE fluorescence is a direct function of CCD performance, and may be a necessary trade-off for developing a portable and economical detection system. However, we are
confident that the MIDS platform can easily be scaled to meet the nominal requirements of any given point-of-care or screening application, and furthermore provide much-needed diagnostic functionality in this particular environment.