Exponential magnetophoretic gradient for the direct isolation of basophils from whole blood in a microfluidic system

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Despite their rarity in peripheral blood, basophils play important roles in allergic disorders and other diseases including sepsis and COVID-19. Existing basophil isolation methods require many manual steps and suffer from significant variability in purity and recovery. We report an integrated basophil isolation device (i-BID) in microfluidics for negative immunomagnetic selection of basophils directly from 100 μL of whole blood within 10 minutes. We use a simulation-driven pipeline to design a magnetic separation module to apply an exponentially increasing magnetic force to capture magnetically tagged non-basophils flowing through a microtubing sandwiched between magnetic flux concentrators sweeping across a Halbach array. The exponential profile captures non-basophils effectively while preventing their excessive initial buildup causing clogging. The i-BID isolates basophils with a mean purity of 93.9%±3.6% and recovery of 95.6%±3.4% without causing basophil degradation or unintentional activation. Our i-BID has the potential to enable basophil-based point-of-care diagnostics such as rapid allergy assessment.

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