A rapid COVID-19 test sensor that reveals results in 10 minutesMarie Donlon | October 06, 2020
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.
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.