Researchers from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a sensor for an at-home COVID-19 test that reveals results in minutes.

Sensors for the 10-minute SARS-CoV-2 RapidPlex test were developed on a sheet of plastic laser etched to produce 3D porous graphene structures. With a large surface area, the structures enable the sensor to be sensitive enough to detect the presence of compounds associated with the virus, even in small amounts.

Source: CaltechSource: Caltech

According to its developers, the sensor’s 3D graphene structures are imbued with antibodies — or immune system molecules that are responsive to particular proteins, such as the kind on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. These antibodies reportedly detect traces of the virus, the antibodies produced by the body to battle the virus and the corresponding chemical markers of inflammation, signaling COVID-19 infection.

The test, according to Caltech, is able to return results in such a short window of time because the sensors simultaneously check these three streams of data, revealing a bigger picture of the infection, including its severity, immunity and early infection stages — a feat not accomplished by current tests, which can take hours and even days to return results.

The paper detailing the test “SARS-CoV-2 RapidPlex: A Graphene-based Multiplexed Telemedicine Platform for Rapid and Low-Cost COVID-19 Diagnosis and Monitoring,” has been published online and will appear in a future issue of the journal Matter.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com