Plasmonic PCR: Rapid Point-of-Care COVID‑19 Diagnostic Platform.
The recent outbreak of the coronavirus COVID‑19 pandemic clearly demonstrates how in today’s age infectious agents can spread rapidly. Given the ability of individuals to travel across the globe infectious agents can reach pandemic/epidemic proportions quickly, as seen with SARS and MERS outbreaks. Such viral agents become infectious because of genetic alterations many times occurring in other animals and eventually can infect humans. There are no effective anti-viral agents nor have vaccines been developed. Thus during these outbreaks we can only rely on infection control measures. Such measures help control the spread of the disease but is dependent on verifying individuals who are infected and those who are not infected. Presently diagnosing COVID‑19 infections is inadequate as the laboratory tests may take 24-48 hrs to be completed. Such time periods make infection control very difficult. In this proposal we discuss how a rapid testing and diagnosis be made in the order of minutes. We have developed a revolutionary methodology that would construct a diagnostic device which is small and portable, and even be battery operated. Our device would be a true point of care platform that would be used at the “first contact” between patient and health professional. Our point of care testing platform would give rapid result in minutes and would help enormously in infection control management of not only the current COVID‑19 outbreaks but also future pathogenic viral outbreaks which are surely to happen.