Coronavirus field test project uses graphene sensing chip

May 01, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Coronavirus field test project uses graphene sensing chip
Nanotechnology materials company Grolltex (named for 'graphene-rolling-technologies') says it is developing a graphene sensing chip-based coronavirus field test.

The company, in collaboration with the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, is developing a versatile, flexible virus testing platform that it says could be used to test for the COVID 19 virus using handheld reader units and disposable plastic testing chips at U.S. points of entry, field hospitals, or any remote or point-of-care location. Graphene sensors, says the company, have been shown to be capable of advanced detection and testing in a variety of fields - including genomics, small molecule-protein receptor interactions, and advanced allergen sensing, as well as virus detection - and recent research shows a "robust capability" for a graphene-based sensor to detect the COVID 19 virus.

"When we saw the COVID-19 virus detection work come out in the literature, showing sensitive and selective detection with a graphene sensor, we knew we had to jump on this project,” says Jeff Draa, CEO of Grolltex. "Productization and roll out of a sensor like this is right in our technology wheelhouse. We're very thankful for the quick response of the folks at Sanford Burnham with their help on the science and testing. It would take many more months, maybe even years, without them."

The graphene-sensor-chip-on-plastic platform is both "micro-fluidically plumbed" - meaning it requires only a very small biological sample (measured in nanoliters) - and "multiplexed," meaning it can perform four to 12, or more, viral tests at one time, providing results that may indicate the presence of a normal flu bug versus COVID-19 or other serious pathogens. It is also plumbed with a number of control channels, eliminating time consuming verification steps and helping to provide answers in minutes.

The sensor employs monolayer graphene - a single atom thick layer material that is generally acknowledged as being the most sensitive, best suited biosensing material currently available for advanced life science sensing needs, says the company. On top of the graphene, the company places additional proprietary and patented nanotechnology

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