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Differential diagnosis of acute respiratory infections using a portable autonomous platform of graphene sensors

Fight Antimicrobial Resistance.


The proposed action consists on the development, validation, and pre-commercialization of a Point-of-Care biosensing platform, based on the multiplexing of bio-conjugated graphene (in general two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors) field-effect sensors for automatic and fast differential diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 versus the most commons influenza viruses (mainly, A and B strains) by using saliva samples. Furthermore, to strengthen the diagnostic ability and offer a very robust differential triage of patients, the same platform will simultaneously analyze three serological biomarkers in a drop of the patient blood: C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), and Human neutrophil lipocalin (HNL). Thus, the eventual copresence of secondary bacterial systemic infections will be early detected in very short times and without the need of a specialized equipment or professionals. The fast discard/confirmation of the presence of a bacterial infection is of vital importance for the prognosis and medical treatment of the patient. The platform will consist of a low-cost, portable, and self-powered electronic equipment that will incorporate all the necessary circuits for the simultaneous evaluation of the sensors, the treatment of the data, and the visualization of the results at the place of the taking of samples, or their communication through the Internet to the Health professionals, or Cloud Databases. A low-cost sensor cartridge specifically designed and fabricated will be fitted in the electronic equipment for each patient, where saliva and blood samples will be simultaneously deposited. This cartridge will contain the graphene sensor matrix and the fluidic devices (reservoirs) for distributing the samples (blood and saliva) to the different sensors. The readout system will quantify practically instantaneously and automatically the concentration of the biomarkers present in the deposited samples (saliva and/or blood).

As no specific training is required, end-users are not limited to highly qualified professionals. Therefore, in addition to being a rapid diagnostic tool for symptomatic patients in hospitals, it can be implemented as a screening tool in i) nursing homes, ii) workplaces, and iii) educational centers. Furthermore, as the test is very fast and direct, it may be of interest in epidemiology in general and for authorities, in particular, to measure the prevalence of infection through population studies and to detect asymptomatic people.

The sensor cartridge will have two sample entries, one for blood, one for saliva.  The sample will be distributed through microfluidic channels to the sensor arrays. The cartridge has eight sockets where the chip sensors will be placed. Each chip sensor is composed by a matrix of sensors which are biofunctionalized against one of the 6 biomarkers considered. The system sequentially measures each one of the sensor arrays using a programmable system-on-chip microprocessor which determines the amount of biomarker present in the sample, showing the result in a display.

Current needs


-Collaborators: Mainly clinical collaborators and diagnosis companies.

-CEO. Our equipment is mainly formed by researchers and academics. No too much experience in the legal and/or business fields.

Meet the team

Actuación del Campus de excelencia cofinanciadas por la Unión Europea a través del Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) y la Consejería de Economía, Conocimiento, Empresas y Universidad, Junta de Andalucía.

Proyecto Singular ILIBERIS: Actuaciones Singulares de Transferencia de Conocimiento en el CEI BIOTIC.

Marco por el que se impulsa el desarrollo de Proyectos Singulares de actuaciones de transferencia en los Campus de Excelencia Internacional en las áreas de la Estrategia de Investigación e Innovación para la Especialización Inteligente de Andalucía (RIS3) con cargo al Programa Operativo FEDER 2014-2020 de Andalucía.