Manas, Research Group Paper on SARS-CoV-2 Detection Published

April 8, 2022

Manas Gartia headshotBATON ROUGE, LA – LSU Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Manas Gartia’s latest paper, “Probing the Mutation Independent Interaction of DNA Probes With SARS-CoV-2 Variants Through a Combination of Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering and Machine Learning,” has been published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

The full paper can be accessed here.

His co-authors on the paper included Parikshit Moitra, research associate in the University of Maryland Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis; Ardalan Chaichi, research assistant in the LSU Department of Mechanical Engineering; Syed Mohammad Abid Hasan, graduate student in the Gartia Research Group; Ketan Dighe, faculty research assistant at the University of Maryland Department of Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental Engineering and Center for Blood Oxygen Transport and Hemostasis; Maha Alafeef, PhD candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and research fellow at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Alisha Prasad, PhD graduate of LSU Mechanical Engineering and product development scientist at Catalent Pharma Solutions; and Dipanjan Pan, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The group’s paper details its project to overcome the performance challenges of therapeutic and diagnostic tests when faced with mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It seeks to design and develop a unique set of DNA probes that can interact with genetic sequences of the virus regardless of its ongoing mutations. 

The probes target a specific segment of the nucleocapsid phosphoprotein (N) gene of SARS-CoV-2 with high binding efficiency because the N gene does not mutate among the known variants. The mechanism of interaction among the probes and SARS-CoV-2 RNA is then explored with a combination of surface-enhanced Raman scattering and machine learning techniques. It has been observed that the group’s approach could efficiently discriminate between clinically positive and negative samples with ~100 percent sensitivity and ~90 percent specificity up to 63 copies/ml of SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration. Therefore, this study establishes N gene-targeted DNA probes as the fundamental machinery to efficiently detect all the current SARS-CoV-2 variants, regardless of their mutations.

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