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Purdue University researchers create device to test for coronavirus

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Posted at 8:03 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 20:03:44-05

WEST LAFAYETTE — Biomedical engineers at Purdue University developed a handheld paper device to detect the coronavirus.

Test results can be read on the device within 40 minutes, making it portable, according to a press release from Purdue University. The device is not specific to any virus.

It could cost millions to manufacture the device, according to the release.

The device is made out of paper-like materials, like glass fiber and cellulose, according to the release. Those materials have been used to detect HIV and cholera.

“The most difficult aspect of producing this device is definitely the assembly,” said K Byers, a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering at Purdue, in the release.

Researchers say this could be overcome with existing manufacturing techniques.

“This paper device isn’t dependent on a particular virus or sequence," said Jacqueline Linnes, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue, in the release. "To detect COVID-19, we would just need an assay design specific to that sequence, which could come from a nasal or throat swap sample. Just like with MERS-CoV, a user could load the assay with liquid into the paper platform, fold the device and let it run."

You can learn more about the device here.