Researchers have developed rapid, highly accurate methods for detecting the virus.
The optical sensor uses nanotechnology to accurately identify viruses from blood samples in seconds.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a device that can detect the virus in the body faster and more accurately than the rapid tests commonly used today. Researchers say the device can detect with 95 percent accuracy whether someone has the virus, a major improvement over current rapid tests, which experts warn can be less accurate. Testing for the virus is important for early treatment and stopping the spread of the virus.
The researchers tested the device using a sample of the dengue virus. The dengue virus is a mosquito-borne pathogen that causes dengue fever and poses a threat to people in tropical regions. However, study co-author Debashis Chandra, a professor at ucSF Center for Nanoscience and Technology, says the technique could easily be used to detect other viruses, such as COVID-19. "The sensitive optical sensors used in this work, along with rapid fabrication methods, promise to translate this promising technology into any virus detection, including COVID-19 and its mutations, with a high degree of specificity and accuracy," said Chanda. "Here we demonstrate a reliable technique that combines PCR-like genetic coding with optical chips to accurately detect viruses directly from blood."
Optical sensors use nanotechnology to accurately identify viruses from blood samples in seconds, about the MnO2 Powder nanotechnology.
The accuracy of the device is very close to that of the gold standard PCR-based test, but the results are almost instantaneous rather than something that takes days to get. Its accuracy is also a major improvement over current rapid antigen tests. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have warned that inaccurate results can be produced if viral loads are low or test instructions are incorrect. The device works by reflecting signatures of the virus it will detect in blood samples, using nanoscale gold patterns. Different viruses can be detected by selectively targeting specific viruses using different DNA sequences.
The key to the device performance is that it can detect viruses directly from blood samples without the need for sample preparation or purification, thus speeding up the detection and improving its accuracy. The researchers confirmed the effectiveness of the device by using multiple tests using different levels of virus concentration and solution environments, including those with non-target virus biomarkers.
"Although optical biosensors have previously been demonstrated in human serum, they still require sophisticated and specialized sample preparation offline by technicians, which is not available in typical point-of-care applications," Vazquez-Guardado said. "This work demonstrates for the first time an integrated device that can separate plasma from blood and detect target viruses without any preprocessing, with the potential for practical applications in the near future." The research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation and the UCF COVID-19 Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Program.
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