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Thursday, 04 February 2021

Biosensors for Pandemics 2021: an ICN2 Severo Ochoa Workshop

On February 2-3, the ICN2 hosted the Severo Ochoa Workshop on Health called "Biosensors for Pandemics 2021: Reliable and efficient nanotech-based diagnostics in emergency situations", an online conference dedicated to the most relevant scientific issues that the biosensing community is addressing to face the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first ICN2 Severo Ochoa Workshop on Health, titled "Biosensors for Pandemics 2021: Reliable and efficient nanotech-based diagnostics in emergency situations", was celebrated virtually on February 2-3. It was the second edition of an online conference launched in 2020 to discuss possible applications of biosensing technologies to the diagnostic of COVID-19 and other possible future viral diseases. Experts in biosensors who are currently working to address the issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as specialists in virology, epidemiology and other related fields, met to discuss their ideas and research projects.

The event was organised by the ICN2 and the Phantom Foundation (Spain), with sponsorship by ICREA. ICREA Prof. Arben Merkoçi, leader of the ICN2 Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors Group, and Prof. Laura Lechuga, leader of the ICN2 Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications group were respectively Scientific Chairperson and Co-chairperson of the conference. ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche, leader of the ICN2 Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience group, collaborated to the organisation as a member of the Scientific Committee.

The ICN2 also contributed to the conference with three oral presentations. Dr Giulio Rosati, from Prof. Merkoçi’s group, presented a plug-and-print platform to produce electrochemical impedimetric nanobiosensors using only commercially available materials. The printed sensors fabricated with this technique can be functionalised with SARS-COV-2 spike protein aptamers and used to detect the virus in saliva samples by means of a smartphone read-out application. This work is being developed in collaboration with Prof. Cecilia de Carvalho Castro e Silva, from the MackGraphe centre in São Paulo (Brazil), currently visiting professor in Prof. Merkoçi’s group. Prof. Carvalho Castro e Silva also gave an invited talk, in which she discussed the integration of graphene field-effect transistors for ultra-sensitive detection of the SARS-COV-2 spike proteins.

Dr Maria Carmen Estévez, from Prof. Lechuga’s group, was also invited to give a presentation on the recent advances of the CoNVaT project and the implementation of photonic and plasmonic nanobiosensors for COVID-19 diagnosis. Their research is oriented at developing biosensors following three strategies: direct detection of the viral genomic material; detection of intact virus entities; and detection of the antibodies developed by the human organism.

You can download the abstract book of the conference from this link.