LSU researchers designing smartphone COVID-19 testing device 

A personal smartphone check-up device that will enable individuals to monitor their COVID-19 infection status daily is one of the 18 innovations recently funded by the LSU Board of Supervisors. 

The device that would attach to a standard smartphone would be able to detect the most abundant viral protein found in SARS-CoV-2, or the coronavirus that leads to COVID-19, through a saliva sample, LSU announced today. The device could help people monitor their own COVID-19 infection status daily and self-quarantine as needed, aiding in the safe reopening of the economy.

“Many governments have been under pressure to reopen the market and society. However, the question remains how to reopen safely and minimize collateral damage. Having a sufficient amount of frequent, population-wide testing to identify and isolate those who are infected appears to be one of the critical elements to protect the population,” says Luan Dinh Vu, an LSU School of Veterinary Medicine post-doctoral researcher, who is leading this project.

Vu is part of the team that temporarily retooled an academic research lab at LSU into a federally approved coronavirus testing lab that rapidly analyzed 3,857 coronavirus tests for 18 Louisiana medical facilities. At the LSU River Road Testing Lab, Vu and his colleagues worked around the clock from March to May to alleviate the backlog in coronavirus test results that was paralyzing the hospitals.

The researchers built a biorepository of more than 1,000 positive coronavirus samples, which they will be able to use in the research and design process of this new device.

This project is one of the 18 new ideas the LSU Board of Supervisors has selected to support through its Leverage Innovation for Technology Transfer, or LIFT2, grants. The board funded a total of $999,981.14 in the last fiscal year to provide a bridge over the gap between basic research and commercialization for university faculty. Read the full announcement from LSU. 

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