Researchers develop graphene-based sensors that detect COVID-19 quickly and efficiently

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) have used sheets of graphene to rapidly detect COVID-19 in laboratory experiments, an advance that could potentially detect variants of the virus.

Graphene sheets form sensor to rapidly detect COVID-19 imageThe white rectangle represents the substrate with graphene functionalized with SARS-CoV-2 antibody (shown in yellow). When the graphene detector interacts with the virus’ spike protein in a COVID-positive sample, its atomic vibration frequency changes.

According to UIC, the researchers combined sheets of graphene with an antibody designed to target the spike protein on the coronavirus. They then measured the atomic-level vibrations of these graphene sheets when exposed to COVID-positive and COVID-negative samples in artificial saliva. The sheets were also tested in the presence of other viruses, such as Middle East respiratory syndrome.

'Graphene camera’ captures real-time electrical activity of beating heart

Scientists from UC Berkeley and Stanford University have captured the real-time electrical activity of a beating heart, using a sheet of graphene to record an optical image — almost like a video camera — of the faint electric fields generated by the rhythmic firing of the heart’s muscle cells.

Graphene-based CAGE sensor image

The 'graphene camera' is a new type of sensor that could prove useful for studying cells and tissues that generate electrical voltages, including groups of neurons or cardiac muscle cells. To date, electrodes or chemical dyes have been used to measure electrical firing in these cells. But electrodes and dyes measure the voltage at one point only; a graphene sheet measures the voltage continuously over all the tissue it touches.

Graphene oxide gives a boost to new intranasal flu vaccine

Researchers at Georgia State University and Emory University have developed an intranasal influenza vaccine using recombinant hemagglutinin (HA), a protein found on the surface of influenza viruses, as the antigen component of the vaccine.

They also created a two-dimensional nanomaterial (polyethyleneimine-functionalized graphene oxide nanoparticles) and found that it displayed potent adjuvant (immunoenhancing) effects on influenza vaccines delivered intranasally.

HexagonFab raises £1.9 million to accelerate development of its graphene-based 'Bolt’ system for protein characterization

UK-based developer of graphene-based biological sensors, HexagonFab, recently raised £1.9 million to accelerate development of its novel technology for process monitoring in the biopharmaceutical industry.

The company has developed a portable and affordable instrument – HexagonFab Bolt – which can very rapidly generate biopharma data.

Companies respond to graphene masks "health hazard" scare

Following recent concerns surrounding the use of graphene in face masks and Health Canada's warnings of "a potential that wearers could inhale graphene particles from some masks, which may pose health risks", several companies involved in the production of such masks released their comments on the matter.

Zen Graphene Solutions, which developed a graphene-based virucidal ink and reported that it has a 99% effectiveness against COVID-19, released a statement saying that it is aware of the recent claims, and "is aligned and supportive of the steps taken to regulate the use of graphene and remove products that are unsafe for the public". It went on to state that its own products have been found safe in various "comprehensive testing". Later on, Zen also submitted various data requested by Health Canada - including final results received from Nucro-Technics on skin irritation and sensitivity that confirmed ZENGuard™ did not lead to any irritation or sensitivity.