Ultra-Fast Electrochemical Sensor for Point-of-Care COVID-19 Diagnosis Using Non-Invasive Saliva Sampling
Ramanujam, Ashwin (TTU)
Almodovar, Sharilyn (TTU)
Botte, Gerardine G. (TTU)
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Point-of-care diagnostic devices that are rapid and reliable remain as an unmet need highlighted by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic crisis. The second/third wave of virus spread in various parts of the world combined with new evidence of re-infections and inadequate healthcare facilities demand increased testing rate to diagnose COVID-19 at its core. Although traditional molecular diagnostic tests have served this purpose, there have been shortage of reagents and other supplies at pandemic frontlines. This calls for novel alternate diagnostic processes with potential for obtaining emergency use authorization and that can be deployed in the field at the earliest opportunity. Here, we show an ultra-fast SARS-CoV-2 detection sensor for detecting coronavirus proteins in saliva within 100 milliseconds. Electrochemical oxidation of nickel hydroxide has been controlled using cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry techniques for successful detection of SARS-CoV-2. Test results have proven the capability of sensors to quantitatively detect the concentration of virus in blinded analyses. The detection occurs by a process similar to that of SARS-CoV-2 binding onto host cells. The sensor also shows prospects in distinguishing SARS-CoV-2 from other viruses such as HIV. More importantly, the sensor matches the detection limit of the gold standard test for diagnosing early infection. The use of saliva as a non-invasive sampling technique combined with the portability of the instrument has broadened the potential of this sensor.