The carbon nanotube sensor detects SARS-CoV-2 in 5 minutes

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MIT scientists announced the development of a rapid test for COVID-19 that can detect the virus in a saliva sample in as little as five minutes. The technology does not require antibodies or other expensive reagents normally associated with protein detection, but is based on carbon nanotubes. The nanostructures are embedded in a network of polymers, to which the target molecules are attached, altering the fluorescent signal generated when the nanotubes are illuminated by a laser. Researchers were able to quickly adapt nanotube technology to detect SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that it could be useful in future pandemics with as-yet-unknown pathogens.

The scientific response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues, with researchers accelerating the development of a variety of vaccines, treatments and test technologies that have helped us change the table about the virus. However, it looks like it will be a long struggle. A cornerstone of the pandemic response has been testing, and rapid testing is an especially valuable tool. When the next pandemic arrives, these technologies will help us be better prepared.

“A quick test means you can open trips much earlier in a future pandemic. You can monitor people getting off a plane and determine if they should be quarantined or not. Similarly, you could examine people entering in their workplace and so on, ”Michael Strano, one of the developers of the new test, said in an MIT ad. “We still don’t have technology that can develop and deploy these sensors quickly enough to prevent economic losses.”

The underlying nanotube technology was developed by the same research group earlier and took less than two weeks to adapt to detect SARS-CoV-2. This adaptability suggests that the technology could be reused to address future pandemics very quickly.

The carbon nanotubes at the heart of the sensor are embedded in a network of polymers, forming a crown of polymer loops around the tubes that alter the fluorescent signal emitted by the tiny carbon structures when struck with a laser. The technique is called crown phase molecular recognition (CoPhMoRe) and the polymer crown is designed so that the target molecule binds inside it, measurably modulating the fluorescent signal.

“This sensor shows the highest range of detection limit, response time, and saliva compatibility even without any antibody and receptor design,” said Sooyeon Cho, another researcher involved in the study. “It is a unique feature of this type of molecular recognition scheme that rapid design and testing is possible, unobstructed by development time and supply chain requirements of a conventional antibody or enzyme receptor.”

Study a Analytical Chemistry: Rapid antibody-free detection of SARS-CoV-2 proteins using coronal phase molecular recognition to accelerate development time

Via: WITH





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