86°F
weather icon Clear

Rapid test for COVID-19 has successful lab results

Rapid detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has had successful preliminary results in Mano Misra’s lab at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The test, which provides a result in roughly 30 seconds, uses a nanotube-based electrochemical biosensor, a similar technology that Misra has used in the past for detecting tuberculosis and colorectal cancer as well as detection of biomarkers for food safety.

Misra, in the university’s College of Engineering Chemical and Materials Department, has been working on nanosensors for 10 years. He has expertise in detecting a specific biomarker in tuberculosis patients’ breath using a metal functionalized nanosensor.

“I thought that similar technology can be used to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a folded protein,” Misra said. “This is point of care testing to assess the exposure to COVID-19. We do not need a laboratory setting or trained health care workers to administer the test. Electrochemical biosensors are advantageous for sensing purposes as they are sensitive, accurate and simple.”

The test does not require a blood sample, it is run using a nasal swab or even exhaled breath, which has biomarkers of COVID-19. Misra and his team successfully have demonstrated a simple, inexpensive, rapid and noninvasive diagnostic platform that has the potential to effectively detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The team includes associate professor Subhash Verma, a virologist; research scientist Timsy Uppal at the university’s School of Medicine; and Misra’s postdoctoral researcher, Bhaskar Vadlamani.

“Our role on this project is to provide viral material to be used for detection by the nanomaterial sensor developed by Mano,” Verma said. “Mano contacted me back in April or May and asked whether we can collaborate to develop a test to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection by analyzing patients’ breath. That’s where we came in, to provide biological material, and started with providing the surface protein of the virus, which can be used for detecting the presence of the virus.”

Verma, an expert on SARS-CoV-2, synthesized and prepared the antigenic protein of COVID-19 virus in his laboratory, SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain protein, for the preliminary testing and determining the sensitivity of the nanosensor. Synthesizing and purification of viral proteins is usual and routine work in a virology laboratory.

“Our lab is a virology laboratory, which works on different viruses, and we have been working on SARS-CoV-2 from the beginning of the outbreak,” he said. “Our genomics and diagnostic group have been sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 from the nasal swabs of COVID-19 patients of the state of Nevada to determine mutational changes in the virus while SARS-CoV-2 circulates in our population.”

The team developed co-metal functionalized nanotubes as a sensing material for electrochemical detection of the protein. They confirmed the biosensor’s potential for clinical application by directly analyzing the RBD of the Spike glycoprotein on the sensor.

The team plans to move to the next step of sensor validation on the actual COVID-19 patient swabs stored in the Viral Transport Medium and have applied for funding to develop a specific and inexpensive point-of-care sensor for a rapid detection of COVID-19 virus in saliva or breath of infected individuals.

The developed approach also has the potential for diagnosis of other respiratory viral diseases by identifying appropriate metallic elements to functionalize nanotubes.

The team’s article, “Functionalized TiO2 nanotube-based Electrochemical Biosensor for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2,” has been accepted for publication in the biosensors section of the MDPI publication Sensors and is available as a preprint at MedRxiv.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pahrump fireworks show will delay Highway 160 project

Just a week before a major improvement project for Pahrump’s main highway begins, Nevada Department of Transportation officials say the project will be postponed until July 11.

Map shows 246 homes planned for Pahrump’s Beckham Heights

The residential subdivision will provide four unique floor plans. The homes range in size from 2,078 square feet to 3,030 square feet, three of the models are two-story and one is a single-story, according to project plans.

Ellie Wilshusen takes the crown at Ms. Senior Golden Years Pageant

Feathered headdresses, ropes of pearls and the flash of a sequins were on full display during the 2022 Ms. Senior Golden Years USA Pageant, where the contestants embraced their inner flapper for this year’s theme, “The Roaring ‘20s.”

Motorsports facility hosting Thursday job fair

Spring Mountain Motor Resort Country Club will be holding a job fair on Thursday, June 23, from 9-10:30 a.m.

How you can join Pahrump’s 4th of July Parade

Pahrump is well-known as a patriotic town and there is no better time for area businesses and organizations to show their patriotic spirit than during the Fourth of July Parade.