The key, according to Graphene Leaders Canada CEO Donna Mandau, is a sensor enhanced with a one-atom-thick molecule described as the “first two-dimensional material.”
“Graphene is the magic in this device,” Mandau says. The particular properties of Graphene make it possible to detect the virus using only saliva.
“The 2D nature and conductive attributes of graphene make for an extremely sensitive material to detect any molecule,” according to a press release from the company. Mandau says a test like this has the potential to radically change things in the absence of a vaccine.
“Our goal is to devise something that is super easy to use. Anyone can use it, you don’t need any specialist or practitioner oversight. There’s no cross-handling of any samples which often increase cross-contamination which leads to false positives and negative results so we wanted something, again, to specifically identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” Mandau says.
“There are no major equipment requirements or expensive equipment requirements and it’s as simple as a saliva test. Then, within 30 seconds or 40 seconds you have a result, and anyone can read it. The red light means you’re infected and the green light means that you’re negative.”
Mandau is hoping their pocket-sized device can hit the market by October. “We’re expecting this to be a fast-moving scenario. We’re working at lightning speed right now,” she says.
Mandau described the device as an “at the door solution,” meaning it could be used to screen people on airlines, sporting events, and in schools. “It could really reopen our economy and get us back into that normal,” she says.
“It solves a lot of problems in terms of how contagious this disease. It provides asymptomatic results, pre-diagnosis it will give some indication before symptoms are recognized that that protein is actually in your saliva,” she explains.
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