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NUANCE: Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center

NUANCE Team fights COVID-19!

VPD and GS

Director of NUANCE Vinayak P. Dravid,
PhD & Dr. Gajendra Shekhawat, Scanned Probe Imaging & Development Facility Manager


A team of NUANCE researchers, including Director Vinayak P. Dravid, PhD, Dr. Gajendra Shekhawat, and Dilip Argawal, PhD, have developed a rapid COVID-19 antigen test. Using a neuromechanical platform to detect multiple surface proteins on the COVID-19 virus, these tests have demonstrated 100% accuracy in a blind test in five (or fewer!) minutes from swab to signal! Additionally, not only are they super fast, eliminate false positives, and show potential to differentiate among different variants and viruses, but they also detected COVID-19 spike proteins in the samples BEFORE the onset of symptoms!

With a virus where time is of the essence to stem the rate of transmission, this breakthrough has huge implications and not only for COVID-19. Dr. Shekhawat shares, “We have some initial data to demonstrate the high sensitivity to other diseases in addition to the coronavirus,”. . .  “We also are developing integrated microfluidics that will allow us to dip multiple cantilevers into antibody solutions and detect multiple viral loads at the same time.” 

As for future research and development, this dynamic team are exploring ways to scale and produce the technology in an effort to be more mobile and bring no-contact testing to the public. Professor Dravid explains,“Instead of nasal swabs, we want to use breath,”. . . “Because the sensitivity of the technique is so good, breath has a lower viral load, but it has enough virus for this technology to detect.”

With this in mind, Shekhawat expounds on the continued implications that technology like this can bring when further developed saying,"children back in school combined with the well-researched fact that underserved populations are at higher risk of exposure underscores the need for non-invasive and rapid diagnostics approaches. Breath sampling could be used for managing and mitigation in future public health challenges."

You can read the full article detailing the novel antigen-based COVID-19 detection method and the team's high hopes for the future of disease detection here! As well as the full published paper in ScienceDirect's Online Journal.  

Well done team!! 

COVID Antigen test
Covid-19, novel antigen test

micro cantilever