A Fiber Optic-Nanophotonic Approach to the Detection of Antibodies and Viral Particles of COVID-19
in: Nanophotonics (2021)
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordina- tor, told NBC news in “Meet the Press” that “[T]he U.S. needs a ‘breakthrough’ in coronavirus testing to help screen Americans and get a more accurate picture of the virus’ spread.” We have been involved with biopathogen detection since the 2001 anthrax attacks, and were the first to detect anthrax in real-time. A variation on the laser spectroscopic techniques we developed for the rapid detection of anthrax can be applied to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In addition to detecting a single virus, this technique allows us to read its surface protein structure. In particular, we have been conducting research based on a variety of quantum optical approaches aimed at improving our ability to detect COVID-19 viral infection. Indeed, the detection of a small concentration of antibodies, after an infection has passed, is a challenging problem. Likewise, the early detection of disease, even before a de- tectible antibody population has been established, is very important. Our team is researching both aspects of this problem. The paper is written to stimulate the in- terest of both physical and biological scientists in this important problem It is thus written as a combination of tutorial (review) and future work (preview). We join Prof. Federico Capasso and Editor Dennis Couwenberg in expressing our apprecia- tion to all those working so heroically on all aspects of the COVID-19 problem. And we thank Drs. Capasso and Couwenberg for their invitation to write this paper.