VIRUS DETECTION VIA AFM
The AFM can be used to monitor for the presence of virus particles, using a device known as a “ViriChip.” A silicon chip is coated with antibodies specific for the virus of interest. In practice, several different antibodies are applied to separate regions of the chip, thus allowing multiple viruses to be monitored simultaneously. A single microliter of liquid from the sample to be analyzed is applied to the chip, and any viruses that are recognized by the antibodies are bound to the chip. The chip surface is then scanned by AFM to detect the presence of virus particles, which are identified by their location on the chip (Fig. 7.6).
The device has been successfully tested with a variety of viruses, including human pathogens, but is presently still under development. In principle, it should be possible to monitor for thousands of different viruses on a single chip. Eventually patients may be tested for multiple viruses using a single drop of blood.
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