Mobile Phone Diagnostic for COVID-19


Diagnostic and automatic surveillance to identify COVID-19 via smartphone in real-time.

Key Benefits

  • Provides real-time, rapid results.
  • Autonomous process.
  • Device does not require RNA isolation or amplification for viral detection.

Market Summary

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The emergence of COVID-19 led to a global pandemic with more than 500 million infected and over 6 million deaths worldwide. One of the essential tools in combating COVID-19 and facilitating early treatment is to track the spread of infection through rapid testing. The market for COVID-19 diagnostics is valued at over $80 billion. Demand for COVID-19 diagnostic products due to the global pandemic is propelling growth along with massive government initiatives for new testing products, and mass testing implementation. As a result, there is substantial demand for rapid and precise tests, with over 600 diagnostic tests either approved or in the development phase.

Technical Summary

The global COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated and increased demand for rapid and easy diagnostic tools to detect SARS-CoV2 to improve virus sensing and tracing. Specifically, there is a need for rapid tools and devices that allow for testing without the requirement of technical equipment and reagents. Emory researchers developed a diagnostic tool that, with a few reagents, can identify COVID-19 with the camera on a smartphone. The tool uses DNA micromotors to attach to the viral RNA and transduction material easily detected with a camera. These DNA micromotors consist of a particle coated with short DNA strands that bind specifically SARS-CoV2 and are capable of detecting SARS-CoV2 variants (e.g., Delta and Omicron) and inactivated SARS-CoV2. The particle moves on a surface with addition of an enzyme that selectively breaks down RNA in DNA-RNA interaction is added hybridized RNA but not single-stranded RNA. Upon engaging on a surface with SARS-CoV2 viral RNA, DNA micromotors will bind to viral RNA and movement of the motor will stall. The surface of the tool is a microfluid chip that can be viewed using a common cell phone camera. As the DNA micromotors move on their own, this diagnostic is fully automated and does not need conventional methods such as viral RNA isolation or amplification or use of large quantitation machines (such as a spectrophotometer).

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Patent Information

Tech ID: 21073
Published: 5/8/2023