Novel portable device to detect bacteria, coronavirus developed

New York: Researchers have developed a new portable device that can help clinicians isolate drug-resistant strains of bacterial infections and difficult-to-detect micro-particles such as those making up Ebola and coronaviruses.

The micro-device uses magnetic nano-beads to isolate minute bacterial particles that cause diseases, said the study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

“We are proposing to use this novel device for virus isolation and detection such as the coronavirus and Ebola,” said Ke Du, Assistant Professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York.

The device is a sophisticated lab environment that can be used in field hospitals or clinics.

Its wide, shallow channels trap small bacteria molecules that are attracted to packed, magnetic microparticles.

This combination of the deeper channels on the nano-device, increased flow rate of fluids where bacteria are suspended, and the inclusion of magnetic beads along the device channels improves upon the process of capturing/isolating bacterial samples, said the study.

The researchers were able to successfully isolate bacteria from various fluids with a microparticle-based matrix filter.

The filter trapped particles in small voids in the device, providing a larger concentration of bacteria for analysis.

An added advantage of a smaller device such as this allows for multiple samples to be tested at the same time.

“We can bring this portable device to a lake which has been contaminated by E. coli. We will be able to take a few milliliters of the water sample and run it through our device so the bacteria can be trapped and concentrated,” said Du.

“We can either quickly detect these bacteria in the device or release them into certain chemicals to analyze them,” he said.