03 May, 2020
5 Min Read
NIAB develops portable coronavirus detection kit
National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), Hyderabad, have developed a biosensor that can detect the novel coronavirus in saliva samples.
Biosensors have been currently used across the world to detect toxins, narcotic drugs, and are also considered as a reliable tool to detect infectious diseases.
The new portable device named eCovSens, can be used to detect the presence of novel coronavirus antigens in human saliva within 30 seconds using just 20 microlitres of the sample.
How eCovSens works?
The in-house built biosensor consists of a carbon electrode and the coronavirus antibody. The antibody is capable of binding with the spike protein found on the outer layer of the virus. An electrical signal is generated when the antigen and antibody binds
Electrical components in the device further amplify this signal, process it, convert it to digital readings on an LCD display.
The device can also be connected to a computer or cellphone via Bluetooth and studied. The signal’s intensity was found to be proportional to the concentration of the antigen in the sample.
1.The device can also be battery-operated as it uses very low voltage of 1.3V to 3V.
2.The team also compared eCovSens to a regular potentiostat and found the new device to be ultrasensitive and quicker.
3.The device is portable and can be taken to the bedside of the patient too.
4.It requires only a very small amount of saliva.
5.The device is stable and when built in bulk can drastically bring down the cost of testing. The validation studies using saliva samples from coronavirus patients are yet to be done.
Other viral antigens
Cross-reactivity studies were done to check if the antibody in the device binds with any other viral antigen. No electric current was generated when tested with antigens of the Avian influenza virus. Hence it can be used to test only COVID-19 strains
About NIAB (National Institute of Animal Biotechnology)
NIAB is an autonomous institution under Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
NIAB is aimed to harness novel and emerging biotechnologies and take up research in the cutting edge areas for improving animal health and productivity. The Institute's focus of research will be on Animal Genetics and Genomics, Transgenic Technology, Reproductive Biotechnology, Infectious Diseases, Bioinformatics and Nutrition Enrichment.
The institute aims at translational research leading to the development of novel vaccines, diagnostics and improved therapeutic molecules for farm animals. The Institute plans to promote bio entrepreneurship by providing support environment for commercial tenants involved in the development of farm animal based products
Mission: Development of sustainable and globally competitive livestock industry through innovative technology.
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