The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) an agreement, as part of their SenSARS program, to develop a sensing platform to detect airborne SARS-CoV-2 particles. Cardea Bio is a sub-contractor to this agreement.

This agreement will enable the two institutions to develop a real-time pathogen identification technology that can be applied to many different defense and civilian environmental monitoring applications.

Current viral detection methods do not meet the combined requirements of sensitivity, specificity and speed needed to effectively identify and mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in an indoor environment. Cardea’s and GTRI’s sensing platform, based on Cardea’s proprietary graphene-based, biology-gated transistors, or Cardean Transistors, will be able to detect airborne SARS-CoV-2 particles with superior sensitivity in near-real time.

“Sensing SARS-CoV-2 virus in the air with high sensitivity and specificity could provide a new mechanism for public health monitoring, enabling safer conditions for a wide range of basic activities including work, travel, and school,” DARPA said.

Cardea sees this sensor being fit to ventilation systems in indoor environments such as airplanes, trains, restaurants, offices, schools and mass transportation hubs to identify virus particles at the earliest possible moment.

“We are thrilled about this opportunity to collaborate with GTRI and DARPA to develop a real-time pathogen identification technology that can be applied across many sectors. Having already demonstrated scalability and the capability of our platform for direct pathogen detection, we are ready to begin work on the SenSARS program,” said Dr. Kiana Aran, Chief Science Officer of Cardea Bio.



“We are very excited to be a part of DARPA’s SenSARS program. The Georgia Tech Research Institute has been exploring real-time electronics-based pathogen identification and Cardea is the ideal partner to help bring this technology out of the lab and into commercial use. And beyond SARS-CoV-2, this platform has the potential to rapidly identify any single pathogen or multiple different pathogens of interest,” said Dr. Michael Farrell, Co-Program Manager at GTRI.

In addition to SARS-CoV-2 surveillance monitoring, Cardea anticipates that with continued development, this sensor platform could have far-reaching civilian, public health and defense applications, from agriculture and food supply monitoring to protection against biological or chemical warfare.

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