A major part of controlling the spread of COVID-19 hinges upon the availability of reliable testing for the virus that can be done cheaply and effectively. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM have teamed with healthcare industry partners on the development of a sensor using graphene oxide to rapidly test for infections like COVID in mere minutes.
Placing a single drop of blood or saliva on the sensor’s surface can get accurate results via electrical signals within just 15 minutes, without the need to wait for lab analysis. Rapid testing allows doctors to spring into action more quickly and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment for patients.
The team is also working on setting up the test to scan samples for antibodies, which are molecules or proteins called biomarkers that are typically found in a patient’s body after they’re recovered from an infection like COVID-19. By looking at the antibodies resulting from earlier infections and comparing it to new ones, researchers can better trace the evolution of the disease. These biomarkers are easily detected using the researchers’ graphene-based sensor.
The team is also looking into whether they can use graphene oxide wafers in the sensor surface so hundreds of samples can be tested at once.