Fall 2020 Seminar Series: Netz Arroyo
Johns Hopkins University
Host: Howard Katz
Adapting Electrochemical Sensing to Population-Scale Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Spread
SARS-CoV-2 has infected over 22 million people globally, leading to ~800 thousand deaths in just ten months. However, significant uncertainty continues regarding the prevalence of asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, as well as the magnitude, effectiveness, and duration of antibody responses. Gaining a better understanding of population immunity is critical to improving predictive models of infection spread and safely reopening economies worldwide. However, to fill knowledge gaps in these areas requires population-scale testing using low-cost, non-invasive, and highly specific and sensitive assays that can be deployed broadly and serially to characterize antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2. Benchmark detection approaches are based on sandwich immunoassays relying on optical readouts of fluorescence emission or color change to report antibody levels. These technologies can be costly, often require centralized facilities with trained personnel, and are, therefore, not amenable to at-home testing. More affordable technologies, such as lateral flow assays, can be inaccurate or prone to user misinterpretation. Motivated to circumvent such barriers, the Arroyo, Spangler and Ha labs have undertaken a journey to develop an at-home electrochemical assay. This presentation reports the results of our initial, 3-month effort to produce a portable immunoassay.