Scientists from the University of Strathclyde and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay have demonstrated a low-cost sensor that may detect fragments of the virus answerable for COVID-19 inside wastewater.
The method, printed within the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, could possibly be used to allow widespread monitoring of COVID-19 prevalence in low- and middle-income nations which wrestle to conduct mass human testing.
The sensor can be utilized with transportable gear that makes use of the usual Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with out the necessity for the costly chemical substances and lab infrastructure wanted for real-time quantitative PCR exams.
Dr. Andy Ward, Chancellor’s Fellow within the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, stated: “Many low- to middle-income countries face a problem in monitoring COVID-19 in individuals due to restricted entry to the mandatory amenities for mass testing. Looking for traces of the virus inside wastewater would allow public well being officers to get a greater understanding of how prevalent the illness is in a bigger space.
“Testing of wastewater for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid is already widely recognised as a tool to identify areas where the case numbers are likely to be increasing and therefore allow more targeted action to be taken to limit viral spread in specific regions. However, the current gold-standard method of real-time PCR testing (qPCR) requires expensive laboratory equipment and skilled scientists to complete. Furthermore, if resources are limited, testing of human samples would most likely take precedence over wastewater epidemiology surveillance. Therefore, lower cost, alternative approaches are required in order to support wastewater surveillance.”
Long shelf life
The biosensor makes use of printed circuit board electrodes to detect fragments of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid which have mixed with methylene blue—a readily-available salt used as a medicine and dye—which is added to the pattern to provide a measurable electrochemical sign.
They discovered that the sensor was in a position to detect the genetic materials at concentrations as little as 10 picograms per microlitre (pg/μl). The electrodes are reusable, simple to wash, don’t endure any adjustments that have an effect on its capabilities and have an extended shelf-life.
Dr. Siddharth Tallur, affiliate professor within the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Bombay, stated: “The methodology we have now developed isn’t just relevant to SARS-CoV-2, it could possibly be utilized to every other virus so it is very versatile.
“In the future, we’ll focus on optimising the assay further to increase accuracy and also integrate the assay with a portable platform to handle both PCR reaction and electrochemical measurement.”
M.S. Kumar et al, Electrochemical sensing of SARS-CoV-2 amplicons with PCB electrodes, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2021.130169
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Scientists develop low-cost sensor that may detect COVID-19 in wastewater (2021, June 10)
retrieved 10 June 2021
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