NOV 02, 2021 4:45 AM PDT

No More Antibodies: COVID Test Uses Glowing Nanotubes

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandes

Forget expensive antibody-based COVID diagnostics and long waits for test results. An innovative new approach developed by scientists and engineers at MIT leverages the power of nanotechnology to detect traces of the coronavirus in patient samples. The results are ready in around five minutes. 

The emergence of these and similar technologies herald the next wave in biorecognition platforms, opening up exciting possibilities in the realms of health technologies and therapeutics.

As the pandemic drags on, vaccine rollouts continue across many parts of the globe. However, experts predict that diagnostic technologies will continue to be a cornerstone of public health responses to the COVID-19 crisis. For example, with travel, large social events, and workplaces opening up again, we will need cost-effective screening tools to keep our communities safe.

With that objective in mind, the team turned to a nanotechnology method of creating carbon nanotubes cocooned in polymer fibers. The target molecules (in this case SARS-CoV-2 proteins) stick to this network of fibers and alter the fluorescent readout generated when a laser shines on the nanotubes. 

This sensor setup is known as Corona Phase Molecular Recognition or CoPhMoRe. It boasts speed, precision, and compatibility with saliva samples without the cost and development lag times of traditional antibody-based tests.

The nanotechnology powering this test had been in development long before the pandemic began. However, the innovators designed it such that it can be rapidly adapted to detect a novel viral target; their COVID test took under two weeks to set up.

According to the researchers, this is a significant step-up from first-generation COVID tests and has the potential to become the next gold standard in SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. “It is a unique feature of this type of molecular recognition scheme that rapid design and testing is possible, unhindered by the development time and supply chain requirements of a conventional antibody or enzymatic receptor,” said a researcher involved in the study, Sooyeon Cho. 


 

About the Author
PhD
Interested in health technology and innovation.
You May Also Like
APR 27, 2022
Microbiology
In Infants, the Gut Virome is Linked to a Deadly Disease
APR 27, 2022
In Infants, the Gut Virome is Linked to a Deadly Disease
As soon as we are born, maybe even before that, the human gut is colonized with microbes including bacteria, fungi, and ...
MAY 02, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
A Lyme Disease Vaccine Could be Available Soon
MAY 02, 2022
A Lyme Disease Vaccine Could be Available Soon
There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness prevalent across the United States ...
MAY 21, 2022
Coronavirus
A Review of Covid-Era Data Reveals Changes in Childbirth Practices
MAY 21, 2022
A Review of Covid-Era Data Reveals Changes in Childbirth Practices
A recent study in the journal Pediatrics has revealed that fewer prenatal visits to the doctor in the first month of the ...
JUN 16, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Overuse of Asthma Inhalers Leads to More Severe Asthma and Hospitalization
JUN 16, 2022
Overuse of Asthma Inhalers Leads to More Severe Asthma and Hospitalization
Asthma is a chronic lung condition characterized by inflammation and narrowness in the airways that carry air in and out ...
JUN 23, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Accelerate diagnostic development with the right supplier
JUN 23, 2022
Accelerate diagnostic development with the right supplier
Diagnostic assays like the one you’re developing are in demand. But your task isn’t simple. Set yourself up ...
JUL 02, 2022
Health & Medicine
How Healthy Is Your Diet?
JUL 02, 2022
How Healthy Is Your Diet?
Is your diet as healthy as you think it is? Probably not - I know mine isn't. Recent research has revealed that ...
Loading Comments...