JUN 07, 2021 7:00 AM PDT

COVID Test Results in a Second?

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

Scientists have developed a handheld diagnostic device, capable of detecting the presence of the SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein in just one second. The new, ultra-rapid testing technology is powered by microfluidics and contains antibodies specific to the viral protein. The study was published in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology.

When it comes to accurate testing, the PCR test is considered the gold standard. However, the trade-off is that this test requires specialized users, equipment, and facilities, all of which lengthen processing times. Rapid testing methods that can be done on the go could help catch positive cases sooner and limit the chances of spreading to complement global vaccination efforts.

“This could alleviate slow COVID-19 testing turnaround time issues,” said Minghan Xian, one of the device’s creators.

The researchers had previously demonstrated how their technology could be used to detect disease biomarkers for conditions such as Zika virus infections, cerebral spinal fluid leaks, and even heart attacks.

According to Xian, the core of the device contains a disposable biosensor strip, similar to those in commercially available glucose monitors for managing diabetes. “Within the microfluidic channel, a few electrodes are exposed to fluid. One is coated with gold, and COVID-relevant antibodies are attached to the gold surface via a chemical method,” Xian explained.

What makes the device unique is the ability to amplify the signals from minute amounts of viral protein present in a biological sample, a trait that enables both the speed and precision of the innovation.

“Our sensor system, a circuit board, uses a transistor to amplify the electrical signal, which then gets converted into a number on the screen,” said Xian. “The magnitude of this number depends on the concentration of antigen, the viral protein, present within our test solution.” 

 


Sources: Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, AIP Publishing.

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
JAN 26, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Diagnostic Tool Could ID 20% of Autism Cases
JAN 26, 2021
Diagnostic Tool Could ID 20% of Autism Cases
Scientists may have created a diagnostic test that can identify as many as one-fifth of potential autism spectrum disord ...
FEB 02, 2021
Cardiology
Investigating a Stress Protein's Relation to Heart Failure
FEB 02, 2021
Investigating a Stress Protein's Relation to Heart Failure
As medicine advances, the world’s population gradually becomes older and older. Cardiovascular disease becomes mor ...
FEB 15, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Asking Patients the Right Questions About Their Symptoms
FEB 15, 2021
Asking Patients the Right Questions About Their Symptoms
A patient is admitted to the hospital after experiencing chest pains. What are the right questions that hospital staff a ...
FEB 17, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Urine Test Bypasses the Need for Prostate Biopsies
FEB 17, 2021
Urine Test Bypasses the Need for Prostate Biopsies
Researchers have created a urine test for prostate cancer that could make unnecessary biopsies a thing of the past. The ...
MAR 09, 2021
Cardiology
A Lifestyle Change Could Reduce a Diabetic's Cardiovascular Risk
MAR 09, 2021
A Lifestyle Change Could Reduce a Diabetic's Cardiovascular Risk
Nowadays, everyone thinks there is a pill or gummy that will fix everything. That may be true for the occasional headach ...
MAR 30, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
The COVID Eye of the Tiger
MAR 30, 2021
The COVID Eye of the Tiger
A wearable COVID screening device that uses light sensors to check for signs of infection has gotten FDA regulatory clea ...
Loading Comments...