SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic practices broadly involve either quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based nucleic amplification of viral sequences or antigen-based tests such as lateral flow assays (LFAs). Reverse transcriptase-qPCR can detect viral RNA and is the gold standard for sensitivity. However, the technique is time-consuming and requires expensive laboratory infrastructure and trained staff. LFAs are lower in cost and near real time, and because they are antigen-based, they have the potential to provide a more accurate indication of a disease state. However, LFAs are reported to have low real-world sensitivity and in most cases are only qualitative. Here, an antigen-based electrochemical aptamer sensor is presented, which has the potential to address some of these shortfalls. An aptamer, raised to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, was immobilized on a low-cost gold-coated polyester substrate adapted from the blood glucose testing industry. Clinically relevant detection levels for SARS-CoV-2 are achieved in a simple, label-free measurement format using sample incubation times as short as 15 min on nasopharyngeal swab samples. This assay can readily be optimized for mass manufacture and is compatible with a low-cost meter.

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Lasserre, P., Balansethupathy, B., Vezza, V., Butterworth, A., MacDonald, A., Blair, E., McAteer, L., Hannah, S., Ward, A., Hoskisson, P., Longmuir, A., Setford, S., Farmer, E., Murphy, M., Flynn, H. & Corrigan, D. 2022, 'SARS-CoV-2 aptasensor based on electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and low-cost gold electrode substrates', Analytical Chemistry, 94(4), pp. 2126-2133. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.analchem.1c04456

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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