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Biotech Science

Virus-Detecting "Lab On a Chip" Developed At BYU 71

natharward writes "A new development in nano-level diagnostic tests has been applied as a lab on a chip that successfully screened viruses entirely by their size. The chip's traps are size-specific, which means even tiny concentrations of viruses or other particles won't escape detection. For medicine, this development is promising for future lab diagnostics that could detect viruses before symptoms kick in and damage begins, well ahead of when traditional lab tests are able to catch them. Aaron Hawkins, the BYU professor leading the work, says his team is now gearing up to make chips with multiple, progressively smaller slots, so that a single sample can be used to screen for particles of varying sizes. One could fairly simply determine which proteins or viruses are present based on which walls have particles stacked against them. After this is developed, Hawkins says, 'If we decided to make these things in high volume, I think within a year it could be ready.'"
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Virus-Detecting "Lab On a Chip" Developed At BYU

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  • Re:Fascinating (Score:5, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @07:32PM (#31067032) Homepage Journal

    None of these things were invented by Star Trek. Maybe they were, as you say "shown there" but these ideas have been common in SF since at least the 1940s and quite likely a lot longer.

  • by Taibhsear ( 1286214 ) on Monday February 08, 2010 @08:56PM (#31067642)

    Probably none.
    Normal animal cell size: 10-30 micrometers
    Normal plant cell size: 10-100 micrometers
    Normal virus size: 10-300 nanometers

    Not to mention the gap in the detector is smaller than plant and animal cells entirely:

    They formed the third dimension by placing a 50 nanometer-thin layer of metal onto the chip, then topping that with glass deposited by gasses. Finally they used an acid to wash away the thin metal, leaving the narrow gap in the glass as a virus trap.

"It ain't over until it's over." -- Casey Stengel