Researchers are now developing a laser-based interferometer sensor that detects coronavirus at the earliest point of infection from a saliva or nasal swab in minutes. The scientists are developing a new rapid, noninvasive optical biosensor demonstrator that will detect COVID-19 in humans as soon as it is present in the body.
With the ability to diagnose in real-time with high specificity from a low concentration sample, the sensor is much more reliable than the coronavirus rapid-test finger-prick kit that detects if a person has had the coronavirus before and has since recovered.
The detector works by looking at the binding of the coronavirus molecules to the interferometer sensor surface, which produces a change in signal when the virus is present. The team use a nano-interferometric biosensor, which they say is the most sensitive, label-free detection technology available in the world today, and which identifies at the molecular level. Because the bioreceptors on the sensor surface are specifically tuned to a particular antigen of the virus, only the coronavirus molecules are captured on the sensor.