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Immediate and universal diagnosis of infectious diseases based on optomechanical capillaries

20th national competition for scientific and technical research

Infection: early warning, prevention and treatment

Senior Researcher : Eduardo Gil Santos

Research Centre or Institution : Instituto de Micro y Nanotecnología - CNM - CSIC. Madrid


Early identification of the pathogens causing an infection is critical to provide the most effective drugs to the patient, as well as to avoid the infection spreading. Current gold standards for diagnosis of infectious diseases are either very time consuming or prompt to failures at early stages of infection. Importantly, these techniques are targeted to specific pathogens, not detecting any other one, increasing the diagnoses time and cost when the pathogen is unknown, which occur in most cases. Clinical diagnosis demands the development of novel technologies that significantly improve the effectiveness and robustness, while reducing the analysis time and cost.

In the framework of OPTOCAP we will explore, develop and stablish a novel technique, the mechanical spectroscopy based on optomechanical capillaries, suitable for the identification and quantification of any kind of pathogen. Notably, the technique will access the pathogens mechanical and morphological properties at the single level entity, while being intact in physiological conditions with unprecedented sensitivity, speed and throughput, being able to identify their life cycle, maturation stage, infective potential or the presence of mutations.

 In a similar manner as Raman Spectroscopy identifies the chemical composition of a given sample through the detection of phonons coming from vibrational and rotational modes associated to its molecular bonds, the mechanical spectroscopy will allow identifying the microbiological composition of a sample through the detection of phonons associated to the mechanical modes supported by the different entities. The detection of these phonons will rely on coupling the mechanical resonances of the microbiological entities to the ones of the sensors, the optomechanical capillaries. OPTOCAP will revolutionize the biophysics, biology, biomedicine and clinical diagnosis fields, providing a reference technology for the next decades.

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