This Rapid Diagnostic Test Can Be Conducted at Home and Sends Your Results Via Text
Denrie Caila Perez posted on November 09, 2020 |
The test aims to be available to consumers by mid-2021.
Photo courtesy of Purdue University.
Photo courtesy of Purdue University.

A new rapid diagnostic platform is now capable of sending test results to smartphones and health agencies in real time. This technology can be easily modified to detect various diseases, including influenza, Zika, dengue, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Lyme disease, mumps, measles, chickenpox, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as foodborne pathogens. Compared to current molecular testing for COVID-19, the platform is derived from existing nanosensor technology developed by IdentifySensors Biologics.

The concept is based on the work of Lia Stanciu, professor of materials engineering at Purdue University: pathogens can be identified through their “induced distinctive resistance change to electronic materials.” IdentifySensors Biologics’ technology was originally used in the detection of spoilage and pathogens in food. Electronic sensors were able to generate real-time data of food contamination levels and transmit the data through wireless networks. This allowed manufacturers to optimize food supply chains more quickly and efficiently.

The two originally collaborated to develop a platform that could test fruits and vegetables for pathogens such as E. coli, listeria and salmonella. When the coronavirus pandemic began, the team quickly realized the technology could be used for COVID-19 testing. Using both principles, they were able to create this new platform for infectious diseases and pathogens, particularly SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus responsible for causing COVID-19.

This technology could signal a possible future in which individuals can easily test themselves at home and have their results on their smartphones in just 30 minutes. The test will use nanotechnology to detect RNA in a person’s saliva. The electronic sensor will then analyze it before sending the results via text. These results will also be sent to public health agencies.

“This new platform technology takes pathogen testing down a completely different path than all the other diagnostic tests out there now,” said director of Purdue’s Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease Richard Kuhn. “Our COVID-19 testing research is showing some very promising results.”

Purdue is currently working with IdentifySensors Biologics to further research and test the platform for future commercialization. They envision the platform being used in various settings, including clinics and point of care.

“Purdue is doing a great job at developing the sensors for this platform,” said IdentifySensors CEO Gregory Hummer, MD. “We intend to commercialize this technology to be used in medical diagnostics, food safety and security, environmental monitoring and national security.”

The team is currently waiting to receive an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration within the next couple of months. They’re expecting the device to be on the market by mid-2021 and to cost approximately $25. Replacement cartridges could potentially cost a fraction of that.

For more news and stories, check out whether a HEPA filter can stop COVID-19 here.

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