Researchers at the Fraunhofer IZM in Berlin have been working on the project Graph-POC since April 2018 on a graphene oxidebased sensor platform to rise to precisely these challenges in diagnosing infections. A single drop of blood or saliva is all it takes to perform an accurate analysis. Just a few minutes after the drop is applied to the sensors surface, electrical signals convey the test result to the family doctors office. This rapid test provides certainty within just 15 minutes to replace the protracted blood work in the lab. It takes the error and guesswork out of diagnosis so the physician can prescribe the appropriate treatment or suitable antibiotics.
The test may also be set up to detect antibodies that are present after a patient has recovered from an infection. Fraunhofer IZM researchers are now focusing on this application to detect earlier infections with the COVID-19 virus, which can help with efforts to trace how the infection has spread. The human body forms molecules or proteins called biomarkers in response to an infection. Capture molecules placed on the surface of the graphene-based sensor to detect these biomarkers. Differential measurements of biomarkers concentration determine if an infection is present.