The sensor strips are of the one-time-use kind but the test circuit can be used again and again
With a heavy caseload of Covid-19 infection and testing causing undue burden over the healthcare system, scientists are trying to bring mechanisms through which symptomatic patients know about their health condition through a rapid test done without the assistance of professional sample collectors and testing labs. Recently the ICMR approved a self-test kit that will let patients known if there is an active Covid infection in 15 minutes.
Now researchers from the University of Florida and Taiwan’s National Chair Tung University has come up with a sensitive and fast testing method for Covid-19 biomarkers that gives results within a second. The system and how the sensor system provides detection so fast in provided in the journal of Vacuum & Science & Technology B, the Indian Express reported.
To detect the presence of the virus in the sample, the biomarkers like copies of viral RNA are amplified like in the RT-PCR technique, or the binding signal for the target biomarker is multiplied. In this new testing device, the second technique is followed where a biosensor strip is used that is similar to the glucose strip used in home tests for diabetes patients. The tip of the strip has a small microfluidic channel to introduce test fluid. In this channel are electrodes coated with gold that is exposed to the sample. The gold-coated electrodes have covid related antibodies attached via a chemical method.
Sensor strips are connected to a circuit board via a connector during testing and soon an electric signal is sent to the gold electrode and another auxiliary electrode. The signal returns to the circuit board where it is analyses. The sensor strips are of the one-time-use kind but the test circuit can be used again and again. This mechanism if implemented can also take down the costs of Covid testing to much extent.