This COVID-19 Detector Has Berkeley Lab Roots

How an atomically thin device could become a biotech breakthrough
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Newswise — A technology spun from carbon nanotube sensors discovered 20 years ago by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists could one day help healthcare providers test patients for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. 

When Alex Zettl, Marvin Cohen, and their research teams at Berkeley Lab first demonstrated ultrasensitive oxygen sensors devised from carbon nanotubes – hollow carbon wires with walls no thicker than an atom– they envisioned a broad spectrum of applications, such as gas-leak detectors or air- and water-pollution detectors.

Subsequent studies out of Zettl’s lab revealed that carbon nanotubes – or CNTs – could also be used to detect proteins or carbohydrates at the level of single cells for biological and medical applications. “CNTs’ exquisite chemical sensitivity had dramatic life-science implications that could benefit society,” Zettl said.

But since Zettl normally investigates atomically thin materials known as nanomaterials for the Department of Energy’s “Novel sp2-Bonded Materials and Related Nanostructures” program, his lab is set up for launching exciting new experiments in quantum physics, not new applications for entrepreneurial startups.

So in 2000, Zettl and Cohen, who are both senior faculty scientists in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and physics professors at UC Berkeley, branched out into the world of commercial spin-offs by co-founding the Emeryville-based biotech company Nanomix Inc. They currently sit on the company’s board of directors – Zettl participates as an adviser, and Cohen as a member.

Today, the company is one of many U.S. companies vying for FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to deploy new diagnostic tests for COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Last month, the company was awarded approximately $570,000 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop disposable cartridges that test for protein traces of the coronavirus – known as antigens – in nasal swab samples, and for antibodies to the coronavirus in blood samples.

Patient samples loaded onto the cartridges are analyzed by the Nanomix “eLab,” a handheld testing device the company first developed more than five years ago in response to the Ebola virus epidemic.

The cartridges rely on tiny carbon biosensors modeled after the Zettl and Cohen labs’ groundbreaking carbon nanotube technology to detect coronavirus antigens during the early stages of a current infection. In addition, the cartridges can test for antibodies the immune system builds up as part of our body’s natural defense mechanism against a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. The company says the eLab system can produce test results in about 15 minutes.

If granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization, the company hopes to have COVID-19-ready eLab products available for healthcare providers in June, and to scale up its supply and production capacity to provide hundreds of thousands of test kits, said Nanomix President and CEO David Ludvigson.

“The fact that my research could help so many people is very rewarding. I'm happy that I was able to contribute in that way,” Zettl said.  

###

Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 13 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

 

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 3477
Newswise: 2?ui=2&ik=4c9feb129e&attid=0.1.2&permmsgid=msg-f:1679265798511464405&th=174df358bbbd0fd5&view=att&disp=emb&realattid=d6762a918b647b2ba204268693b0cd89
30-Sep-2020 10:20 AM EDT
Influence of bots on spreading vaccine information not as big as you think
University of Sydney

The role of bots in spreading vaccine-critical information on Twitter is limited, and rarely cross paths with active Twitter users, finds study led by University of Sydney.

Newswise: Vaccine Opposition Online Uniting Around ‘Civil Liberties’ Argument
1-Oct-2020 10:40 AM EDT
Vaccine Opposition Online Uniting Around ‘Civil Liberties’ Argument
George Washington University

Anti-vaccination discourse on Facebook increased in volume over the last decade, coalescing around the argument that refusing to vaccinate is a civil right, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

Released: 1-Oct-2020 3:50 PM EDT
COVID-19 infects majority of bad dreams -- study
Frontiers

COVID-19 has turned 2020 into a nightmare for many people, as they struggle with health problems, economic uncertainty and other challenges.

Newswise: UC San Diego Health Joins International Clinical Trial to Test Coronavirus Vaccine
Released: 1-Oct-2020 3:35 PM EDT
UC San Diego Health Joins International Clinical Trial to Test Coronavirus Vaccine
University of California San Diego Health

UC San Diego Health will be a test site for a third, major Phase III clinical trial to assess a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the trial will recruit up to 60,000 participants at sites in the United States and worldwide.

Released: 1-Oct-2020 2:50 PM EDT
UC San Diego Partners with San Ysidro Health to Expand COVID-19 Testing
University of California San Diego Health

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with local partners, have been awarded a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to implement a program of widespread testing for COVID-19 in San Ysidro, focused on pregnant women and children.

Newswise: Promising COVID-19 Rapid Test Technology Enters Phase 1 of NIH Challenge
Released: 1-Oct-2020 2:25 PM EDT
Promising COVID-19 Rapid Test Technology Enters Phase 1 of NIH Challenge
Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

A promising new COVID-19 rapid-testing technology platform developed by Rover Diagnostics and Columbia Engineering has been selected by the NIH to enter Phase 1 of the RADx initiative to support new COVID-19 testing technologies. The affordable, portable, and ultrafast point-of-care Rover platform provides reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction results in eight minutes, faster than any other test of its kind, with targeted accuracy to match laboratory-based tests.

30-Sep-2020 10:30 AM EDT
Researchers call for loss of smell to be recognized globally as a symptom of COVID-19
PLOS

Four out of five people experiencing the recent loss of smell and/or taste tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies—and of those who tested positive, 40 percent did not have cough or fever, reports a new study in PLOS Medicine by Prof. Rachel Batterham at University College London and colleagues.

Released: 1-Oct-2020 1:35 PM EDT
COVID vs. Flu vs. Common Cold: What You Need to Know
Children's Hospital Los Angeles

With cold and flu season underway, plus the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, infectious disease specialist Jeffrey Bender, MD, shares how to tell the difference between the three illnesses, and the most important thing parents can do to keep children safe.

Newswise: Carter-Butts-768x615.png
Released: 1-Oct-2020 1:20 PM EDT
Population distribution can greatly impact COVID-19 spread, UCI-led study finds
University of California, Irvine

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 1, 2020 — Uneven population distribution can significantly impact the severity and timing of COVID-19 infections within a city or county, leading individual communities to have vastly different experiences with the pandemic, according to a recent study led by the University of California, Irvine. Findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that the heterogeneous spatial features of interpersonal connections may produce dramatic local variations in exposures to those with the illness.

Released: 1-Oct-2020 1:15 PM EDT
Arizona State University researchers awarded $4.7M by NIH to expand COVID-19 testing in underserved Arizona communities
Arizona State University (ASU)

In Arizona, as in other parts of the country, data shows that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the American Indian, African American and Latinx communities, as well as other vulnerable populations. A $4.7 million grant from the National Institute of Health to ASU’s Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC) is on the way to help address this by funding a rapid and large-scale increase in COVID-19 testing of underserved communities across Arizona.


Showing results

110 of 3477

close
1.28677