Nanowire for Acid Test

Description And Advantages

Sensory devices thinner than human hair could soon pave the way for faster and more accurate medical diagnostic tests. Scientists from Yale University, us, recently created nanowire sensors that can detect changes in immune cells. When immune cells sense the presence of a bacteria or a virus, they get activated and produce an acid. The acid, in turn, generates a tiny current in the nanowire electronics, signalling the presence of that particular agent of disease, or pathogen. Earlier, the nanowires could detect only a generalized activation of the immune cells. The latest breakthrough, however, not only helped them detect the activation but also pinpoint the specific strain of bacteria or virus that has attacked the patient, said the scientists. For example, it can now help determine which strain of flu virus or tuberculosis bacterium has infected the patient.


Down to Earth, November 2008