Single sensor could simultaneously detect, differentiate between flu, coronavirus

University of Texas professor Deji Akinwande is developing a graphene sensor that can tell the difference between flu and coronavirus, and test for both simultaneously. The goal is to save time, medical resources, and cost, and speed appropriate treatment, as a second COVID wave could correspond with the next flu season.

The sensor is the size of a micro USB drive and is infused with antibodies of both COVID-19 and influenza. One part of the device is sensitive only to the flu, while another part will react only to the coronavirus.

The researchers will use inactive samples of COVID-19 and influenza for initial testing, and will measure how he sensor connects with the coronavirus’s spike proteins, which help it enter human cells by binding with them.

The work builds on the team‘s previous iron deficiency detecting graphene sensor work. “It became clear that just by changing the antibody, we could pivot the platform to focus on the coronavirus,” Akinwande said.