Biological sensing transistor made available for Covid-19 testing

March 25, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Biological sensing transistor made available for Covid-19 testing
Cardea Bio Inc. (San Diego, Calif.), developer of the Cardean transistor biological sensor, is offering its technology as the basis for a Covid-19 detector.

The company is reaching out to all large companies and government organizations looking to urgently bring a first-generation handheld Coronavirus detection device to market.

In 2019 Cardea published learned papers on its graphene-based biologically-gated transistor that can read molecules and identify disease markers. The company partnered with Nanosens Innovations to develop the CISPR-chip, that scan genomes for particular mutations. Details about its development can be found in a recently published Nature Biomedical Engineering paper.

The biologically-gated transistor is sensitive to electrical charge at the graphene channel surface and this increases when a targeted gene is found in the sample and binding to it takes place.

Cardea already has a few partners working on integrating Cardea transistors into handheld devices, but said that more partners are needed.

While silicon is not usually a suitable electronic material for use with viral samples graphene is a bio-compatible nanomaterial that is an excellent semiconductor like silicon, that can be used in production of electronics transistors.

A lab-on-a-chip detector for Covid-19 coronavirus would allow point-of-care detection and could be used for detecting multiple molecular signals of interest at the same time.

"Our Cardean transistors are incorporated with the natural search power of CRISPR, creating the opportunity to detect the coronavirus faster and more effectively with the differentiated product advantages of being a handheld, fast, precise, and internet-connected device," said Michael Heltzen, CEO of Cardea, in a statement. "This enables for the first time the use of cloud computing and other Internet-like applications for life science test results without having to send a sample back to a lab and wait for days before you have the result."

Heltzen continues, "We strongly believe that we are holding a critical component to combat the current, but also future, virus attacks. Having said that, we need the support of large companies and government organizations to get this new type of technology in the hands of the masses."

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