NIAB develops portable coronavirus detection kit
#GS3 #Science&Technology #COVID-19
The device can detect novel coronavirus antigens in 20 microlitres of human saliva within 30 seconds
- India will be able to produce RT-PCR and antibody test kits by the end of May, researchers from the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad, have developed a biosensor that can detect the novel coronavirus in saliva samples.
- Biosensors have been currently used across the world to detect toxins, narcotic drugs, and are also considered as a reliable tool to detect infectious diseases.
- The new portable device named eCovSens, can be used to detect the presence of novel coronavirus antigens in human saliva within 30 seconds using just 20 microlitres of the sample.
- The in-house built biosensor consists of a carbon electrode and the coronavirus antibody.
- The antibody is capable of binding with the spike protein found on the outer layer of the virus.
- An electrical signal is generated when the antigen and antibody binds.
- Electrical components in the device further amplify this signal, process it, convert it to digital readings on an LCD display.
- The device can also be connected to a computer or cellphone via Bluetooth and studied.
- The signal’s intensity was found to be proportional to the concentration of the antigen in the sample.
- The device can also be battery-operated as it uses very low voltage of 1.3V to 3V.
- The team also compared eCovSens to a regular potentiostat and found the new device to be ultrasensitive and quicker.
- The device is portable and can be taken to the bedside of the patient too.
- Also, it requires only a very small amount of saliva.
- The device is stable and when built in bulk can drastically bring down the cost of testing.
- The validation studies using saliva samples from coronavirus patients are yet to be done
Other viral antigens
- Cross-reactivity studies were done to check if the antibody in the device binds with any other viral antigen.
- No electric current was generated when tested with antigens of the Avian influenza virus.
- The device can be customised to any target analyte, and can also have other future applications for detection of various other ailments.