Article

A novel colorimetric biosensor for detecting SARS-CoV-2 by utilizing the interaction between nucleocapsid antibody and spike proteins

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Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 is a pandemic coronavirus that causes severe respiratory disease (COVID-19) in humans and is responsible for millions of deaths around the world since early 2020. The virus affects the human respiratory cells through its spike (S) proteins located at the outer shell. To monitor the rapid spreading of SARS-CoV-2 and to reduce the deaths from the COVID-19, early detection of SARS-CoV-2 is of utmost necessity. This report describes a flexible colorimetric biosensor capable of detecting the S protein of SARS-CoV-2. The colorimetric biosensor is made of polyurethane (PU)-polydiacetylene (PDA) nanofiber composite that was chemically functionalized to create a binding site for the receptor molecule—nucleocapsid antibody (anti-N) protein of SARS-CoV-2. After the anti-N protein conjugation to the functionalized PDA fibers, the PU-PDA-NHS-anti fiber was able to detect the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 at room temperature via a colorimetric transition from blue to red. The PU-PDA nanofiber-based biosensors are flexible and lightweight and do not require a power supply such as a battery when the colorimetric detection to S protein occurs, suggesting a sensing platform of wearable devices and personal protective equipment such as face masks and medical gowns for real-time monitoring of virus contraction and contamination. The wearable biosensors could significantly power mass surveillance technologies to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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