By Xiu Ying, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fast and accurate diagnosis with no chance of a “false positive” for the zika virus: this is the result of research conducted by the Renato Archer Information Technology Center (CTI) in Campinas (SP).

A sensor can attest to the disease from one drop of urine.

One drop of urine is enough and after 15 minutes you have the result.
One drop of urine is enough. (Photo CTI)

Researchers in the laboratory have modified a circuit board commonly used in electronic equipment. They built nanostructures to isolate the NS1 protein, released into the human body by the zika virus.

The imprecision of some existing tests hinders patient diagnosis due to its similarity with the dengue protein. With this sensor, zika’s NS1 protein can already be identified from day one of the disease, which is a differentiator, until day eight, when the virus cycle is over.

As soon as the urine comes into contact with the equipment, the result is immediately displayed on a computer screen or on portable devices such as cell phone screens.

The technology is low-cost and can be easily employed in the Unified Health System (SUS), according to experts. The installation of the system in portable hospital equipment, for instance, may be done for R$450 (US$112).

The research methodology was accepted by two international scientific publications, one of which was by the Nature group (Scientific Reports). The same technology also enables a precise diagnosis of several diseases.

“Now we plan to develop a sensor for dengue and chikungunya virus,” explains researcher Aline Macedo.

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