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Quantum nanodiamonds could help detect diseases earlier

wallpapers Tech 2021-04-27
Quantum nanodiamonds could help detect diseases earlier
The quantum sensing capabilities of nanodiamonds could be used to improve the sensitivity of paper-based diagnostic tests, potentially enabling the early detection of diseases such as HIV, researchers at University College London have found.
 
A horizontal flow test works in the same way as a pregnancy test, with a sheet of paper dipped in a liquid sample and a change in color -- or fluorescent signal -- indicating a positive result and detected viral proteins or DNA. They are widely used to test for viruses ranging from HIV to Novel Coronavirus and can provide rapid diagnosis because the results do not need to be processed in the laboratory.
 
But the new study, published in Nature, found that low-cost nano-diamonds could be used to show the presence of an AIDS marker with a sensitivity thousands of times higher than the gold nanoparticles widely used in these dip strip tests.
 
The researchers took advantage of the quantum properties of nanodiamonds to create precise defects. In a diamond with regular height, this defect produces what is known as a nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center.NV centers have many potential applications, from fluorescent biomarkers for ultra-sensitive imaging to information-processing qubits in quantum computing.
This higher sensitivity results in a lower amount of virus detected, meaning that the method can detect lower levels of disease or disease at an earlier stage, which is essential for reducing the risk of transmission for infected people and for effective treatment of diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
 
The research team is working on adapting the new technology in the coming months to test for COVID-19 and other diseases. The key next step is to develop a handheld device that can 'read' the results, and further clinical evaluation studies are planned, the researchers said.
"We believe this revolutionary new technology will benefit patients and protect people from infectious diseases."Rachel McKendry, who led the study.

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