Mosquitoes are usually only an unpleasant nuisance, but when they’re carrying diseases we only find out once people start showing up sick at hospitals and clinics. A spinoff from Purdue University is hoping to give public health professionals, and mosquito eradication programs, an early warning system to know where to direct their resources.
The company, called SMK Diagnostics that’s headquartered in West Lafayette, Indiana, has developed a sensor that can identify the presence of infectious viruses within mosquitoes and to name specifically which flaviviruses they are.
The technology, which consists of an electrode covered with a material to which only certain virus DNA or RNA can stick to, requires only about an hour to do its trick. A simple ohmmeter is used to measure the change in the resistance of the material around the electrode as more target RNA and DNA from the viruses stick to its surface.
It is hoped that this tech can be turned into sensors that can be placed where mosquitoes roam, which would send an alarm when danger is present.