We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Virus Laser System Boosts Biological Monitoring
News

Virus Laser System Boosts Biological Monitoring

Virus Laser System Boosts Biological Monitoring
News

Virus Laser System Boosts Biological Monitoring

Credit: Pixabay.
Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Virus Laser System Boosts Biological Monitoring"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Dr John Hales, Prof Paul Dalby and Prof John Ward at UCL Biochemical Engineering have published an article in Nature Communications titled “Virus lasers for biological detection” describing a novel analytical technology which promises to open up new avenues for monitoring biology.

When manufacturing a drug using biology it is necessary to constantly test to ensure that the cells are making the medicine correctly. Elsewhere we need to diagnose illnesses and monitor how much and what kind of bacteria or virus is in someone’s blood. One of the most widely used approaches to test this is to attach dyes to the cells and then use complex technology to see how much light is absorbed or re-emitted by the dye. The drawbacks of this approach are that it is slow to provide results, expensive and not accurate enough to meet scientific needs.


Virus-laser detection uses synthetic biology to design a modified virus that will attach itself to the specific molecule that the test is designed to detect. The more of that molecule the more virus attaches, but instead of just re-emitting light, the virus forms a part of a laser system and so emits very bright, easy-to-detect light of a specific wavelength.


This system is currently being pioneered in UCL Biochemical Engineering where its initial application is in monitoring the manufacture of drugs using biology. One of the biggest advantages it has over other methods is that it can be incorporated into a manufacturing process for “live” monitoring to provide real-time feedback on the process. The conventional way of monitoring drug production would be to manufacture a whole batch of medicine, then test it, wait for the results to come back and if there’s a problem a whole batch could be wasted, but with virus-laser detection a problem can be detected and rectified straight away.


Another feature of virus-laser detection is that if you double the number of probes you don’t get twice as much signal, you can get up to a ten thousand times more signal. This means it could provide a fast, precise and reliable way of diagnosing illnesses in a way that’s currently not possible. It could also be used in environmental sensing applications, such as testing water purity.


Since the article was submitted to Nature Communications, John Hales has been awarded €100,000 from the European Union ATTRACT fund to allow the team to undertake commercially-focused research and development of the technology, and has recently been awarded a Royal Society Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship to accelerate the commercial translation of the virus laser technology.

Reference
Virus lasers for biological detection. John E. Hales, Guy Matmon, Paul A. Dalby, John M. Ward& Gabriel Aeppli. Nature Communications, (2019) 10:3594  | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11604.

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Advertisement