The pervasive spread of infectious diseases and pandemics, such as the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), are becoming increasingly serious and urgent threats to human health . Preventing the spread of such diseases prioritizes the development of sensing devices that can rapidly, selectively, and reliably detect pathogens at minimal cost . Paper-based analytical devices (PADs) are promising tools that satisfy those criteria . Numerous paper-based biosensors have been established that rival conventional pathogen detection methods . Among them, colorimetric strategies are promising since results can be interpreted by eye, and are simple to operate, which is advantageous for point-of-care testing (POCT). Particularly, the application of nanomaterials on paper-based biosensors has become important as these materials are capable of converting signals from pathogens through unique mechanisms to yield an amplified colorimetric readout . To highlight the research progress on using nanomaterials in colorimetric paper-based biosensor for pathogen detection, we discuss the sensing mechanisms of how they work, structural and analytical characteristics of the devices, and representative recent applications . Current challenges and future directions of using PADs and nanomaterial-mediated strategies are also discussed.