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New Biosensor Detects COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 Variants on People's Breath within a Minute

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 09 Jul 2021
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Image: The Soterius Scout sensor can detect COVID-19 even if someone is asymptomatic, to provide the all-clear for someone to enter their work environment (Photo courtesy of Soterius)
Image: The Soterius Scout sensor can detect COVID-19 even if someone is asymptomatic, to provide the all-clear for someone to enter their work environment (Photo courtesy of Soterius)
An instant COVID-19 sensor could help transform day-to-day management of the pandemic, protecting frontline workers and the wider community.

RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) is collaborating with partners including Soterius Pty Ltd. (Melbourne, Australia) on the biosensor, which can detect the presence of tiny amounts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants. The sensor harnesses nanotechnology-enabled biosensors developed by RMIT researchers at its leading-edge Micro Nano Research Facility. The biosensors technology is covered in a patent application filed by RMIT, with the integrated system the subject of a patent application subsequently filed by Soterius. The successful prototype is now being further developed by Soterius in partnership with RMIT towards commercial release early 2022. The technology will initially be delivered to hospitals, with future applications in other essential worker and high-traffic settings including aged care, quarantine hotels, airports and schools.

Reliable, accurate and non-invasive, the Soterius Scout sensor can deliver results within a minute to provide the all-clear for someone to enter their work environment or alert them if they need to undertake a medical COVID test and self-isolate. Prototype tests conducted at RMIT have revealed that the Soterius Scout biosensor detects SARS-CoV-2 spike protein fragments with impressive accuracy and no false positives. The technology can detect COVID-19 even if someone is asymptomatic. Trials also show the sensor has potential to become a top performing diagnostic tool for respiratory illnesses and it is now being scaled to detect other diseases such as influenza and MERS.

“Our biosensor is so small it can fit on a personal fob card and it’s easy to use – you just need to swipe your card over a reader at checkpoints,” said Soterius co-founder Dr Alasdair Wood. “Importantly, one sensor can detect up to 8 viral strains and our technology can be easily adapted to detect new variants or novel viruses as they emerge. We hope the Soterius Scout biosensor could be a vital tool for managing COVID-19, providing accurate early detection to prevent outbreaks and avoid the need for future lockdowns.”

Related Links:
RMIT University
Soterius Pty Ltd.



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