What is it about?

Microfluidic systems are devices that are used to study the movement of tiny amount of liquids inside channels that are only micrometers thick. For COVID-19 and other viral diseases, these devices can help detect specific viral proteins (called "antigens") or genetic material (called "RNA") from the patient’s sample. But, current devices can only detect either an antigen or an RNA, not both. They also do not work well together. In this paper, the authors developed the first microfluidic sensor that can detect both signatures of COVID-19. Their device uses fluorescent molecules to label the viral targets, and a simple setup with lasers to visualize them. The system is so sensitive that it can detect even a single target molecule in the sample!

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Why is it important?

Tools for detecting COVID-19 need to be accurate and sensitive so that the results are reliable. This helps prevent false positives and negatives. The sensing device developed in this study is not only extremely sensitive to viral signatures but can also be easily produced in large quantities. Moreover, the device can be used to detect other infectious diseases. It can be used to track the stages of a disease over time and the recovery of a patient. It can also be useful in other applications, such as cancer research. KEY TAKEAWAY: The new sensing device designed by the authors can help us detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Ultrasensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and antigen using single-molecule optofluidic chip, APL Photonics, June 2021, American Institute of Physics,
DOI: 10.1063/5.0049735.
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