A COVID-19 Test In Less Than 5 Minutes?

Researchers have created an ultrasensitive graphene-based electrochemical biosensor with an electrical read-out setup to selectively detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material. It can detect the virus accurately in less than five minutes. The biosensor has two components: A platform to measure an electrical read-out and probes to detect the presence of viral RNA. The researchers first coated filter paper with a layer of graphene nanoplatelets to create a conductive film.

Then, they placed a gold electrode with a predefined design on top of the graphene as a contact pad for electrical readout. Both gold and graphene have high sensitivity and conductivity which makes this platform ultrasensitive to detect changes in electrical signals. The team designed antisense oligonucleotide (ASOs) probes to target two regions of the N-gene. Gold nanoparticles (AuNP) were capped with these single-stranded nucleic acids (ssDNA), which represents an ultra-sensitive sensing probe for the SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

The hybridization of the viral RNA with these probes causes a change in the sensor electrical response. The AuNP caps accelerate the electron transfer and when broadcasted over the sensing platform, results in an increase in the output signal and indicates the presence of the virus. The sensor was able to differentiate viral RNA loads in the samples. Hence this can also be used as a quantitative test.

The researchers also state that this biosensor is adaptable for the detection of many different diseases.

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Ref Link: DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c06392