A new portable covid-19 detection method can detect virus infection much faster than the currently available methods. The covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that there is an urgent need for technological innovation to detect, treat and prevent sars-cov-2 virus. One and a half years have passed since the epidemic, and there are still waves of outbreaks and urgent needs for new medical solutions, especially testing.
In the Journal of Vacuum Science and technology B, researchers from the University of Florida and Taiwan Jiaotong University reported a rapid and sensitive test method for covid-19 biomarker.
These researchers previously demonstrated the detection of relevant biomarkers in epidemic and emergency situations, such as Zika virus, heart attack and cerebrospinal fluid leakage. They used their expertise to develop a sensor system that can complete the detection in one second, which is much faster than the current covid-19 detection method.
Detecting the presence of viruses requires amplifying the number of biomarkers, such as viral RNA copies in common polymerase chain reaction techniques for covid-19 detection, or amplifying the binding signal of target biomarkers. The team’s approach is to amplify the binding signal of the target biomarker.
The shape of the biosensor strip is similar to the glucose test paper on the market. There is a small microfluidic channel at the top to introduce the test solution. In the microfluidic channel, several electrodes are exposed to the liquid, one of which is coated with gold, and covid related antibodies are attached to the gold surface by a chemical method.
During the measurement, the sensor strip is connected to a circuit board through a connector. A short electrical test signal is transmitted between the gold electrode with covid antibody and another auxiliary electrode, and then the signal is returned to the circuit board for analysis.
The sensor system uses a transistor to amplify the electrical signal, which is then converted into a number on the screen. The size of the number depends on the concentration of the antigen, that is, the viral protein in our test solution.
The sensor strip of the equipment must be discarded after use, but the test circuit board is reusable, which means that the cost of testing may be greatly reduced, and the versatility of this technology far exceeds the detection of coivd-19.
By changing the type of antibody attached to the gold surface, the system can be reused to detect other diseases. The system can be used as a prototype of modular and cheap protein biomarker sensor to realize rapid real-time feedback in clinical application, operating room or family.