We previously reported the detection of bacterial antigen with immunoaffinity reactions using laser optoacoustic spectroscopy and antibody-coupled gold nanorods (Ab-NR) as a contrast agent specifically targeted to the antigen of interest. The Nano-LISA (Nanoparticle Linked Immunosorbent Assay) method has been adapted to detect three very common blood-borne viral infectious agents, i.e. human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis-B (Hep-B). These agents were used in a model test panel to illustrate the performance of the Nano-LISA technique. A working laboratory prototype of a Nano-LISA microplate reader-sensor was assembled and tested against the panel containing specific antigens of each of the infectious viral agents. Optoacoustic (OA) responses generated by the samples were detected using the probe beam deflection technique, an all-optical, non-contact technique. A LabView graphical user interface was developed for control of the instrument and real-time display of the test results. The detection limit of Nano-LISA is at least 1 ng/ml of viral antigen, and can reach 10 pg/ml, depending on the binding affinity of the specific detection antibody used to synthesize the Ab-NR. The method has sufficient specificity, i.e. the detection reagents do not cross-react with noncomplementary antigens. Thus, the OA microplate reader, incorporating NanoLISA, has adequate detection sensitivity and specificity for use in clinical in vitro diagnostic testing.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.