Current testing for the COVID-19 virus is conducted in centralized labs. Test are for DNA or protein microarrays using immunoassay methods. Tests require trained technicians and extended time frames to complete. To successfully provide early detection of COVID-19 we have to start evaluations at the initial care level. The primary care practitioner must have the tools for early detection with the knowledge and experience to use them effectively. Currently evaluation and diagnosis roads all lead to the intervention of the lab for biological analysis of fluid samples provided by the patient.
NUB4U, LLC has designed an effective, inexpensive, and expeditious alternative process using disposable molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) or Aptamer coated microbeam Nano/Micro-Electrical-Mechanical-Sensors (NEMS/MEMS) for virus detection.
The NUB4U probe system in its most general form can be defined as miniaturized mechanical and electro-mechanical elements (i.e., devices and structures) that are made using the techniques of micro-fabrication. The sensor arrays require little intervention from the practitioner, other than providing the fluid sample to be evaluated.
Aptamers (synthetic antibodies) are stable DNA or RNA ligands that bind with high affinity and specificity to target antigens such as small molecules, peptides, proteins, cells, and tissues. Lab generated antibodies that unstable and have a very short lifespan. Manufacturing costs and time are all lower compared to that of monoclonal antibody production. Once the aptamer (nucleic acid) sequence is known, the aptamer (synthetic antibody) can be produced on the fly.
To detect a specific analyte the micro-cantilever transducer is fabricated with specific receptor coating (MIP or Aptamer) on the surface based on the molecular composition of the analyte. The receptor coating is a chemically sensitive layer that provides specificity for analyte recognition (Figure 3). The principle relies on the transduction of chemical or physical processes into a mechanical response. After exposure, analyte molecules diffuse into the upper surface containing the receptor coating, the absorption of which will change the surface tension initiating a downward bending of the cantilever due to the formation of surface stress.
Our patented probe, US 10,191,036 Bl, is inexpensive to fabricate and can be manufactured in a relatively short period of time. It provides a screening application that is diagnostically precise and able to provide test results within seconds. Tests can be conducted by clinicians, with minimal training required, using our buccal probe. The probe incorporates MEMS sensors capable of detecting trace viral molecules in parts per million (PPM), precluding any false-negative test results. The probe is ideal for point of care applications completely portable and serviceable anywhere. Samples can be obtained by using the probe as a buccal swab or depositing fluid sample extracted from the patient directly to the sensors.
The NUB4U sensor probe platform was designed to provide a viable more efficient system with simplicity in analytical performance and robustness with a quantifiable environment in mind. The NUB4U MEMS platform is cutting-edge technology that has become one of the most promising inventions for the 21st century. Utilizing the characteristics, modes of operation, and transduction principle the micro-cantilever provides for the application in a sensors platform for identifying various chemical and biological analytes. It is an emerging technology, having demonstrated its sensitivity for advanced and complex biological problems.