A smartphone-based device able to detect traces of the norovirus in water samples could help stop the spread of the dangerous virus.
The norovirus, known for the way it can move quickly through confined areas, can also infect water supplies, with concentrations as low as just ten viral particles causing illness. To help identify the virus quickly in drinking water in the field, the team from the University of Arizona created a paper microfluidic chip that, due to its fibrous structure, does not require a pumping system. The chip features small fluorescent beads coated with antibodies that will bind to norovirus particles. These beads and particles will create clumps that can then be visualized via a smartphone attached to an inexpensive microscope and running an app that can count the clusters.
According to team lead Jeong-yeol Yoon, Ph.D., “Analysis will be done automatically by the smartphone app, so all you have to worry about is loading a sample of water onto the chip.”