A. Ramanujam, G.G. Botte
Texas Tech University,
Keywords: COVID-19 diagnosis, electrochemical biosensor, ultrafast sensing, COVID-19 screening
Summary:Even after 18 months and 160 million cases, the COVID-19 pandemic has prevailed and continues to haunt certain parts of the world. Although the vaccine administration is being implemented in full swing in some parts of the world, there has been a dearth of vaccines in the rest. Hence, diagnostic tests are being sought to identify individuals with COVID-19 and isolate them from rest of the population as early as possible. In fact, there have been cases reported across the globe regarding the incidence of COVID-19 infection in individuals who are vaccinated as well. This emphasizes the need for rapid screening and large-scale testing to ensure safe return to pre-pandemic normalcy. This would require the employment of ultrafast techniques to test people on a regular basis and provide results instantaneously. For this very purpose, an ultrafast COVID-19 diagnostic sensor (UFC-19) based on electrochemical techniques has been developed to test the saliva samples and provide results instantaneously. UFC-19 possesses a very low detection limit and can specifically detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the presence of some other viruses. An electrocatalyst formed in-situ prior to each measurement is hypothesized to interact with the hydrogen occupancies of SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike protein by following a mechanism similar to the binding of S1 protein on human body surfaces. This interaction occurs in the order of milliseconds and captured as changes in the current signal. The speed and accuracy of UFC-19 in diagnosing and returning the results makes it a feasible choice for operation at crowd gathering public places like airports, schools, offices/workplaces, and restaurants.