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Purdue start-up develops sensor to detect mosquito-borne viruses

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: July 18th, 2018

A Purdue University start-up is developing a technology that can quickly detect dangerous mosquito-borne tropical diseases.

SMK Diagnostics aims to commercialize its biosensor, which works faster and at a lower cost than current methods, allowing health officers more time to take action before viruses such as Zika are transmitted to humans.

Developed by Purdue researchers Lia Stanciu, Ernesto Marinero and Richard Kuhn, the technology uses an electrode coated with a material that immobilizes specific biological molecules able to bind to the RNA of the virus. The surface resistance on the electrode is changed when the DNA or RNA of a mosquito-borne virus binds to the material’s surface.

“Only the virus will bind to the surface, no other molecules,” says Stanciu, who founded SMK Diagnostics alongside Marinero and Kuhn. “It is a recognition, like a key and lock.”

The sensor can differentiate between specific flaviviruses and works in less than an hour, whereas other diagnostic methods can take more than a week.

Stanciu says the start-up plans to use the technology to place sensors in regions with higher populations of disease-carrying mosquitos. The company has secured a patent for its device with support from the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization and is now seeking funding to build a prototype and accelerate the technology to the marketplace.

Source: News-Medical.Net

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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