Point-of-care breath analyzer for early-stage disease diagnosis
As the third documented emergence of an animal-to-human coronavirus during the past two decades (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2002, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012), the current pandemic and near-certainty of future epidemics demands intensified surveillance and proactive screening. Definitive therapy for novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is likely at least half a year away. Current standard-of-care diagnostic testing with real-time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) is resource intensive, costly and inaccurate. An alternative, high sensitivity, rapid and label-free technique for detecting and differentiating molecular structures, including viral strains, at the point-of-testing is urgently needed.
Herein, we develop a high sensitivity, rapid near-instantaneous, reagent-free point-of-care testing system for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We propose to demonstrate the viability of rapid reagent-free detection of COVID-19 in exhaled breath condensate and allied samples (saliva and sputum) using ultra-sensitive nanophotonic structure which will be used as a sensing platform for multi-wavelength surface enhanced Raman scattering/spectroscopy, and further, translate this technology for widespread use in a range of public and health settings.