Nanoplasmonic biosensor for rapid detection of multiple viral variants in human serum

Nikhil Bhalla, Amir Farokh Payam, Alessio Morelli, Preetam Kumar Sharma, Rhiannon Johnson, Alan Thomson, Pawan Jolly, Francesco Canfarotta

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37 Citations (Scopus)
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As viruses constantly change due to mutation, variants are expected to emerge demanding development of sensors capable of detecting multiple variants using one single sensor platform. Herein, we report the integration of a synthetic binder against SARS-CoV-2 with a nanoplasmonic-based sensing technology, which enables the successful detection of spike proteins of Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants of SARS CoV-2. The recognition event is achieved by specific nanostructured molecularly imprinted polymers (nanoMIPs), developed against a region of the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS CoV-2 spike protein. The transduction is based on the principle of localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) associated with silver nanostructures. The nanoMIPs-functionalised LSPR sensor allows for the detection of all 3 protein variants with a limit of detection of 9.71 fM, 7.32 fM and 8.81 pM using wavelength shifts respectively for Alpha, Beta and Gamma spike protein variants. This can be achieved within 30 min from the sample collection, both from blood and using nasal swab, thus making this sensor suitable for rapid detection of COVID-19. Additionally, the turnaround time for sensor development and validation can be completed in less than 8 weeks, making it suitable for addressing future pandemic needs without the requirement for biological binding agents, which is one of the bottlenecks to the supply chain in diagnostic devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number131906
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalSensors and Actuators B: Chemical
Early online date18 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Biosensors
  • LSPR
  • MIPs
  • Nanoplasmonics
  • Proteins
  • Virus


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