Engineers at Johns Hopkins University, supported in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation, have developed a COVID-19 sensor that addresses the limitations of the two most widely used types of COVID-19 tests: PCR tests that require sample preparation, and the less accurate rapid antigen tests.
The sensor technology, which is not yet available, is almost as sensitive as a PCR test and as convenient as a rapid antigen test. The simple-to-use sensor doesn’t require sample preparation and can be used as disposable chips or on a wide variety of surfaces.
“The technique is as simple as putting a drop of saliva on our device and getting a negative or a positive result,” said Ishan Barman, one of the senior authors of the study. “The key novelty is that this is a label-free technique, which means that no additional chemical modifications like molecular labeling or antibody functionalization are required. The sensor could eventually be used in wearable devices.”