American Chemical Society
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Monitoring the Viral Transmission of SARS-CoV‑2 in Still Waterbodies Using a Lanthanide-Doped Carbon Nanoparticle-Based Sensor Array

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-12-29, 15:07 authored by Maha Alafeef, Ketan Dighe, Parikshit Moitra, Dipanjan Pan
The latest epidemic of extremely infectious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has created a significant public health concern. Despite substantial efforts to contain severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within a specific location, shortcomings in the surveillance of predominantly asymptomatic infections constrain attempts to identify the epidemiological spread of the virus. Continuous surveillance of wastewater streams, including sewage, offers opportunities to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which is believed to be found in fecal waste. To demonstrate the feasibility of SARS-CoV-2 detection in wastewater systems, we herein present a novel facilely constructed fluorescence sensing array based on a panel of three different lanthanide-doped carbon nanoparticles (LnCNPs). The differential fluorescence response pattern due to the counterion–ligand interactions allowed us to employ powerful pattern recognition to effectively detect SARS-CoV-2 and differentiate it from other viruses or bacteria. The sensor results were benchmarked to the gold standard RT-qPCR, and the sensor showed excellent sensitivity (1.5 copies/μL) and a short sample-to-results time of 15 min. This differential response of the sensor array was also explained from the differential mode of binding of the LnCNPs with the surface proteins of the studied bacteria and viruses. Therefore, the developed sensor array provides a cost-effective, community diagnostic tool that could be potentially used as a novel epidemiologic surveillance approach to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.