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Nanotechnology could be used to assess mortality risk in COVID-19 patients

Published on 20/05/20 at 11:13am
Photo by Health Sciences and Nutrition/SIRO

Doctors could use nanotechnology to assess the morality risk from COVID-19, according to research from Michigan State University.

Morteza Mahmoudi, assistant professor in the Department of Radiology Nanoscience and Nano Biomedical Engineering at Michigan State, has proposed a diagnostic platform that would use either nanoparticles or magnetic levitation to diagnose infection and assess future risk. His research was published in Molecular Pharmaceuticals.

This concept is based on how the various stages of the virus alter the composition of biological fluids such as saliva, urine, tears and plasma. The patient’s fluid would be introduced to a small collection of nanoparticles, with its unique surface collecting proteins, lipids and other molecules in a pattern that Mahmoudi describes as a crown.

Analyzing the composition of the crown with a statistical approach may provide a type of ‘fingerprint’ pattern for patients who may be high risk contracting COVID-19. This pattern would then be used by sensor technology to carry out imaging of the test results and produce a diagnosis that could identify the risk of death in COVID-19 patients.

Speaking on his research, Mahmoudi said: “Such technology would not only be useful in protecting health care centers from becoming overwhelmed, but could also prevent severe shortages of health care resources, minimize death rates and improve management of future epidemics and pandemics.”

Mahmoudi also highlighted how recent breakthroughs in nanotechnology could be used to assess the mortality risk. One he highlights in his research is MagLev, nanotechnology based on magnetic levitation, which suspends patient plasma samples in a solution of magnetic nanoparticles. Over time, distinct bands of proteins form and separate by density. The unique shaped bands of the proteins create distinct patterns for fingerprinting the disease and stages of infection.

Conor Kavanagh

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