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Affinity Biosensors for COVID-19 Antibodies

Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: 61319
Funded under: Innovate UK Funder Contribution: 68,972 GBP

Affinity Biosensors for COVID-19 Antibodies

Description

Biosensors provide an extremely useful, user friendly and cost effective route for rapid diagnosis. This has been seen for diabetics with the introduction of the blood glucose biosensor in the 1990's, which now has advanced to full disease management systems using smartphones. With new technological advances discovered to link affinity reagents to electronic surfaces, it is now possible to produce biosensors to any protein. Affinity reagents are biochemicals that bind proteins e.g. antibodies or virus antigens, very tightly thereby making the tests being developed absolutely specific to the target being detected. The vision for this project and the main area of focus will be to generate biosensors to coronavirus antibodies and antigens (COVID-19) to make a serological test for the virus. Associated with this main aim is a trial of a new set of electronic components to run the biosensors created. Combining these and the biosensors made will allow the production of a compact field measurement system to detect if a person has been infected and even if a person is still infected. The project protocols will demonstrate the feasibility of the biosensors to be manufactured and also to test their sensitivity and specificity to the virus proteins to be detected. To date the serological tests to detect COVID-19 have been inadequate in field use. It is aimed to overcome this with new specific reagents being incorporated into the biosensors and this will be a prime outcome of the project. In addition to detecting COVID-19, the whole system is future proofed, because it will be possible to change the specificity of the biosensors by changing the affinity reagent used. Therefore if a different virus appears, proteins and antibodies associated with any new virus can be detected by making a different biosensor with different reagents to change the specificity. In addition, the device described could be adapted to detect any protein, giving the capability of detecting any disease in the future.

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