Point-of-care COVID‑19 sensor for rapid, large-scale testing

Gupta, Manisha | $50,000

Alberta University of Alberta 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

In this study, we intend to develop an economical, repeatable, reliable, highly accurate biosensor for COVID‑19 diagnostic “point-of-care” testing. The rapid transmission from asymptomatic infected people has made COVID‑19 such a widespread and deadly pandemic compared to SARS or MERS. Relying on “social-distancing” measures comes at enormous economic and social cost; this type of compliance is not a sustainable long-term solution. Accurate, large-scale affordable testing is imperative until a vaccine is developed and deployed globally. Much like home pregnancy tests, the proposed portable “point-of-care” devices will use a sample (e.g. saliva) to generate immediate and highly accurate results. It will remove the time delays, high costs and bottle necks experienced with the traditional PCR-based testing methods/protocols currently being used for testing. The proposed biosensors will be printed using aerosol jet 3D printer and can economically be scaled while maintaining the quality. The sensor can be deployed quickly at workplaces, schools, hospitals, airports, etc. for immediate test results.

Organic transistors work well as biosensors because they can be used in aqueous medium and also demonstrate high sensitivity. These devices are functionalized to detect COVID virus. This device will give a quick measurement of the COVID‑19 virus and will use the patient saliva for testing. The device will be a single use disposable one that can be disposed safely after testing. This device will expedite the testing time and also the number of tests that can be performed which is the requirement of the day.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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