Harvard researchers have developed a highly sensitive biochip able to detect a single virus in real time in unpurified samples. The system uses 20-nanometer silicon nanowires coated with antibody proteins for a specific virus, then connected to a fluid microchannel. Detectors using this biochip could provide early warnings of viral infections, as the sensor is able to detect the presence of a virus in very small concentrations. The researchers' next step is to combine multiple virus detectors on a single chip, allowing for simultaneous sensing of hundreds -- or perhaps thousands -- of different viruses.
(Via Technology Research News)
Update: Reader Sennoma notes in the comments that the original pubication of this research was as an open-access article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (auto-download PDF). Sennoma's post in his own blog about the biochip is definitely worth checking out.
[plug style="shameless"]A few more details, including a link to the original open-access PNAS paper, can be had here.[/plug]
Thank you, sennoma -- I didn't catch that it was an open access publication. Good link!
Hey, thanks for the link. Just one quick bit of pedantry: this paper is open-access, but the journal as a whole is not. It's an option for authors: on top of PNAS' page charges, you can pay (I think it's) $1500 to have your paper published as open-access. Barbara Cohen (PLoS senior editor), at a recent seminar where I work, said that already something like 25% of authors are taking the option.