Device tracks and delivers
virus count in minutes
Oct 29 (IANS) You may be ingesting dangerous nano-particles
emitted by a car and billions of viruses might be infesting
your system especially if you have a virulent infection.
is a revolutionary invention that offers the potential to
quickly and cheaply answer these questions. The coffee grinder
sized, portable desk top instrument can count the number of
viruses in a sample in minutes, powered by a computer drive.
washing machine sized competitors may take days to get a result,
or cost more than $50,000. Slated for commercial release by
April, qViro will cost about $10,000 according to Paul Atkins,
Australo company's director of external relations.
device measures single biological molecules by pulling them
through a small adjustable hole or nanopore - just a few millionths
of a millimetre wide. As each molecule passes through it temporarily
blocks the hole and changes the electrical environment.
example, we can adjust it to count the number of particles
of a particular size range. These may be HIV or avian flu
virus particles in a sample. Because we can get results in
minutes we have the potential to rapidly measure the viral
load in a sample," said Atkins.
application of this is to look at the effect of anti-viral
drugs on the viral load to better manage the drug regime or
get the dose right," he added. This is a key issue for
drug resistance especially with the complex and potentially
toxic drugs used to fight HIV.
potential application of qViro is in the detection and measure
of viruses in, for example, fish farms - giving rapid warning
of health issues, according to Australo press release.
are just one kind of 'nanoparticle'. A second version of the
device - qNano - will be able to detect a wider range of nanoparticles
- such as airborne pollutants.
know that micron-scale particles in car and truck exhausts
can affect our lungs," said Paul.
it's becoming apparent that there are a host of potentially
dangerous nanoparticles as well. qNano is being developed
to detect and quantify these particles as well - quickly and
instruments can measure these changes and profile each molecule
as it passes through. They call the process SIOS (scanning
ion occlusion spectroscopy).
the adjustability of the hole that makes Australo's technology
unique," said Paul.
device was featured in Ausbiotech - the national biotechnology
conference, held in Melbourne on Tuesday.