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Electrochemical Biosensors for the Diagnostics of Infectious Diseases

Oct 6, 2021 11:00:00 AM / by Luca Vita

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Now more than ever, the attention of the world is grasped by infectious diseases. Currently, the focus is centralised around a certain viral disease, however infectious diseases are caused by a variety of organisms, whether that is a virus, bacterium, fungi, or parasite. The diseases caused by such organisms can spread throughout a population either via human-to-human contact or via means of another host animal or insect (1).

Minimising the transmission of infectious diseases is a core function of any government or health board; there are even public health laws surrounding the matter. To prevent spread, individuals must be screened to allow for the appropriate quarantine and heath measures (2) Thus, rapid and accurate monitoring of important analytes is an essential goal, and for this reason, significant progress has been made towards developing high performing analytical tools. With recent advancements in technology, electrochemical biosensors are taking the limelight.

 

 

Why has global interest in electrochemical biosensors increased?

The popularity of electrochemical biosensors for clinical analysis has increased steadily due to key advantages in their design, assay simplicity, and superior analytical performance over conventional laboratory methods. However, the global distribution of infectious disease outbreaks is biased, with the majority originating in Africa and Southeast Asia. These regions are often low income, highly populated and have poor access to healthcare. Thus, defining the parameters of new age sensors for infectious disease (3)

 

With regards to such, electrochemical biosensors boast the ability to produce rapid results, in resource scarce settings with minimal complexity. The recent development of low-cost novel materials like Gii-Sens 3D graphene foam has enabled a shift away from traditional expensive materials, like the noble metals conventionally used in electrochemical sensors. Whilst advancements in miniaturisation and the ability to multiplex has allowed electrochemical biosensors to bring laboratory grade testing to the point of care. Furthermore, some electrochemical sensors allow for whole sample processing. This reduces the need for extra protocol steps in sample preparation; reducing both the complexity of the procedure and the cost.

 

Finally, and possibly most important is the ability to produce rapid results. As discussed, a key strategy in the plan that prevents the spread of infectious diseases is screening. Electrochemical biosensors currently boast the ability to produce results in as little as 3-4 minutes, a fraction of the time needed for more conventional laboratory methods. This enables clinicians to make accurate decisions based on reliable results in a timely manner, both resulting in improved outcomes for the patients are reducing the risk of spreading such diseases further.

 

 

Current limitations of Biosensors for infectious disease  

Despite promising research and advancements made towards electrochemical biosensors in recent years, availability of commercially viable devices in the real-world setting is still lacking. Unfortunately, several next-gen devices are still regarded as prototypes and their integration into circulation is yet to be seen. However, with some devices already integrated into the market, more are hoped to follow suit in the near future. Additionally, questions are still being posed about the accuracy of electrochemical biosensors. Due to having higher, low limits of detection, electrochemical biosensors are often still used solely as a screening tool, with laboratory tests still being required to confirm results. Electrochemical biosensors also often advertised as ‘label-free assays’ which allow quantitative real-time measurement. Novel Technology can enhance the accuracy and reliability of these measurements and combat the issues that label-free assays can suffer from such as; a significant degree of non-specific binding and aberrant signal with analytes in complex matrices. (4)

 

The future of electrochemical biosensors in clinical diagnostics for infectious disease looks bright, with recent developments in electrochemical technology. Fortunately, some products such as our own Gii-Sens have utilised novel technologies to overcome the limitations that other electrochemical biosensors currently face. Find our next blog to find out more about how this is done.

 

For more information on how to integrate our next generation technology into your diagnostic devices, contact us today.

 

 

Bibliography

  1. King , D., Peckham , C., Waage, J., Brownlie, J., & Woolhouse, M. (2006). Infectious Diseases: Preparing for the Future. 313(5792).
  2. The World Health Organisation. (2008). International Health Regulations.
  3. Findlater, A., & Bogoch, I. (2018). Human Mobility and the Global Spread of Infectious Diseases: A Focus on Air Travel. 34(9).
  4. Sin, M., Mach, K., Wong, P., & Liao , J. (2014). Advances and challenges in biosensor-based diagnosis of infectious diseases. 14(2).

 

 

Tags: Graphene Applications

Luca Vita

Written by Luca Vita

Luca Vita is a Precision Medicine Expert and Scientific Author