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Monday, October 25, 2021
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Scaling up the Weaponry

Technology’s journey within the medical sector so far is made up of many varied elements. There can be no doubt that, from a holistic standpoint, this association has been hugely successful, however expectations have changed since the forces were first joined. Today, even with all its brilliance, we look at medical sector through a critical lens, thus trying to fine-tune every possible edge. Now, if we put it like that, the whole thing feels rather harsh, but we have a good reason to do it. As pressure on the industry grows, it becomes of utmost importance for us to match this burgeoning requirement by sector’s own development. In a scenario where it’s not done, things can get overwhelming really quickly, something we didn’t have to try hard to see during the pandemic. Time and again, experts had pointed out that our healthcare system was far from ready to face a global pandemic, yet we refused to do anything about it until things went south for real. The result was a grueling reality for pretty much every medical institution, as the astronomical number of cases ensured a helpless feeling amongst the first-responders. Furthermore, when the tragedy really struck, we were also let down by technology. The sluggishness and substandard accuracy of Covid 19 testing tools only added to our problems. A lot of people were even given the wrong treatment as a result of it. Nevertheless, with the dust finally settling a little, a battle-hardened healthcare sphere is turning its focus to upgrading our current collection of weaponry for the next chapter in the fight against Covid 19 and all the other variants. A step towards that goal was recently inspired by the Illinois Urbana-Champaign University.

Researching team at the university has created a sensor that is well-equipped to rapidly detect a virus in your sample. One major addition to this technology, however, is the ability to identify whether the viral particles present in the sample are still infectious or not. Due to the dormant nature of Covid 19, it gets hard to figure out how much stock we should be putting in a positive result; hence an advancement of such nature can prove to be immense in the short, as well as the long run. From what is revealed till now, the device takes 30 minutes to 2 hours timeframe for delivering your test results, which are constructed with the help of DNA aptamers.

A more detailed account of how the virus particles are shaping up not only orchestrates a more fitting course of action for patients, but it also gives medical professionals an idea about how different disinfection techniques are performing.

“Our sensor combines two key components: highly specific DNA molecules and highly sensitive nanopore technology. We developed these highly specific DNA molecules, named aptamers, which not only recognize viruses but also can differentiate the infectivity status of the virus,” says Ana Peinetti, one of the researchers involved in the study.

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