A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Chip delivers COVID-19 test results on a phone

A new chip delivers COVID-19 test results in 55 minutes or less. Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow

Programmed magnetic nanobeads enable diagnostic device

COVID-19 can be diagnosed in 55 minutes or less with the help of programmed magnetic nanobeads and a diagnostic tool that plugs into an off-the-shelf cellphone, according to Rice University engineers.


New, easier and faster way of testing

Mechanical engineer Peter Lillehoj has developed a stamp-sized microfluidic chip that measures the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein, a biomarker for COVID-19, in blood serum from a standard finger prick. The nanobeads bind to SARS-CoV-2 N protein in the chip and transport it to an electrochemical sensor that detects minute amounts of the biomarker.

The researchers argue that their process simplifies sample handling compared to swab-based PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests that are widely used to diagnose COVID-19 and need to be analyzed in a laboratory.

"What's great about this device is that it doesn't require a laboratory," Lillehoj said. "You can perform the entire test and generate the results at the collection site, health clinic or even a pharmacy. The entire system is easily transportable and easy to use."

The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded research appears in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Sensors.

The new tool relies on a slightly more complex detection scheme but delivers accurate, quantitative results in a short amount of time. To test the device, the lab relied on donated serum samples from people who were healthy and others who were COVID-19-positive.

Lillehoj said a longer incubation yields more accurate results when using a whole serum. The lab found that 55 minutes was an optimum amount of time for the microchip to sense SARS-CoV-2 N protein at concentrations as low as 50 picograms (billionths of a gram) per milliliter in whole serum. The microchip could detect N protein in even lower concentrations, at 10 picograms per milliliter, in only 25 minutes by diluting the serum fivefold.

"Your mobile phone now is a portable lab to test for COVID-19, using an add-on stamp-sized biochip," said John Zhang, a program director in NSF's Directorate for Engineering.

Source: NSF

×
Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Research Integrity: Two Words - A lot of Meaning
Ostriches Stick Their Heads Into The Ground When T...

Related Posts

EPS Recent Posts

03 February 2023
Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS)
Credit: Getty images Where do we come from? The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched on Christmas Day 2021, is already transforming our understanding of planets in our Solar System and far beyond. A versatile satellite observatory, JWST has a c...
6 Hits
30 January 2023
Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS)
Credit: Nanostructures built using software that lets researchers design objects out of DNA. Models (top) with electron microscope images of the objects (bottom); Raghu Pradeep Narayanan and Abhay Prasad, Yan lab, Arizona State University Software le...
42 Hits
27 January 2023
Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS)
Credit: Getty images The enhancement of human-machine interaction is expected to bring big improvements in support for learning and access to healthcare In a Swiss classroom, two children are engrossed in navigating an intricate maze with the help of...
49 Hits