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Journal of Nucleic Acids
Volume 2017, Article ID 3712070, 12 pages
Review Article

Aptamers as the Agent in Decontamination Assays (Apta-Decontamination Assays): From the Environment to the Potential Application In Vivo

1Advanced Medical and Dental Institute, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 13200 Kepala Batas, Penang, Malaysia
2Medical Faculty (TRAM), University of Muenster, Von-Esmarch-Str. 56, 48149 Münster, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Marimuthu Citartan; ym.msu@natratic

Received 12 May 2017; Accepted 10 September 2017; Published 26 October 2017

Academic Editor: Xingguo Liang

Copyright © 2017 Mawethu Pascoe Bilibana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The binding specificity and affinity of aptamers have long been harnessed as the key elements in the development of aptamer-based assays, particularly aptasensing application. One promising avenue that is currently explored based on the specificity and affinity of aptamers is the application of aptamers in the decontamination assays. Aptamers have been successfully harnessed as the decontamination agents to remove contaminants from the environment and to decontaminate infectious elements. The reversible denaturation property inherent in aptamers enables the repeated usage of aptamers, which can immensely save the cost of decontamination. Analogous to the point-of-care diagnostics, there is no doubt that aptamers can also be deployed in the point-of-care aptamer-based decontamination assay, whereby decontamination can be performed anywhere and anytime for instantaneous decision-making. It is also prophesied that aptamers can also serve more than as a decontaminant, probably as a tool to capture and kill hazardous elements, particularly pathogenic agents.