A chromatographic lateral-flow assay system for rapid, high sensitivity method of detecting low levels of ligands in body fluids, with few false positives and few false negatives. The lateral-flow assay may have a membrane strip in ribbon form, which increases detection on the order of 2 to 10 fold over the conventional chromatographic specific binding assay techniques by placing a dried or lyophilized conjugate in colloidal spheres opposite side of the lateral flow membrane strip. A chromatographic specific binding assay strip device, comprising: a laminate strip having a first side and an opposite second side; a conjugate pad or membrane disposed on said first side of said laminate; a sample receiving pad or membrane strip and reservoir pad or membrane disposed on said second side of said laminate; and a detection pad or membrane strip disposed between the sample pad or membrane and the reservoir pad or membrane on said second side of said laminate. The assay system comprises a housing device, such as a test tube or cassettes to facilitate the mixing of a sample solution with the dried or lyophilized conjugate, and kits.

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