Home Uncategorized Ebola can now be diagnosed by this Smart Paper

Ebola can now be diagnosed by this Smart Paper

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Here’s another approach to testing Ebola and that too without any
expensive tools or kits, in fact, all that you need is this paper. The
Paper Gene Circuit is capable of porting out the biological reactions
out of cells and placing them onto a piece of paper. Researchers claim
that it can be carried into the affected areas and the tests can be
done.
Collins, co-Director of the Center of Synthetic Biology at BU and also a
key faculty member at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, says, “This could
really be a game-changer for a lot of applications, including
diagnostics. You can literally carry this in your pocket and run an
experiment in the field without any additional equipment.”
As of now, the top-notch diagnostic tools make use of antibodies in
order to identify hormones or viruses present in a patient’s
bloodstream. For instance, the standard pregnancy test looks for a
particular hormone that is produced when the fertilized egg implants
into the female’s uterus. Such tests do perform very well, however, they
are time consuming when it comes to developing them and not to mention,
they are expensive.

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Keith Pardee, a postdoctoral guy in Collins’ lab, co-author on this
particular Cell paper and a Wyss Institute research scientists,
explained, “The antibody-based tests are exquisitely sensitive, and we
can’t compete with that sensitivity yet. But to make a custom antibody,
it costs between $4,000 and $30,000, and it will take between four and
six months. We made 24 different Ebola sensors and tested them in a day,
for $21 each.”
This diagnostic approach and the tool is, as of now, a proof for the
concept and it works, however, it is yet not ready for the field. It
does tell us that the power of synthetic ‘gene circuits’ is quite
amazing. The circuits created by Pardee use ‘toehold switch,’ created by
co-author Alexander Green who is also a postdoctoral guy at BU and also
a colleague of Pardee at the Wyss Institute. Pardee said, “You can
imagine that there’s a lot of potential for these gene circuits, because
they can sense and they can report by, say, changing color. Does your
fruit have listeria on it? Is the soil contaminated with pesticides? The
gene circuits can answer these questions.”
Collins said while stating that the technology could be incorporated
into anything that is porous therefore allowing for the opening of
multiple doors and plethora of applications, “This opens a lot of
possibilities. It could give people a lot of valuable information very
quickly.”

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