Cerebrospinal fluid detection showing inserted sensor strip and four-digit readout. (Credit: Minghan Xian, et al.)

Researchers have developed a single-use sensor strip that can be used with a circuit board, like a handheld glucometer, to detect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks.

The researchers collected nine human clinical samples from a Florida hospital and introduced the test fluid into a small liquid channel on the tip of the sensor strips. The liquid channel held electrodes that contained antibodies on the surface specific to proteins found only in human cerebrospinal fluid.

Once the test fluid was inserted into the liquid channel, a few short electrode pulses were sent through the electrodes. The circuit board then analyzed the signal and produced a four-digit number that correlates to the concentration of the protein, called beta-2-transferrin, found in CSF.

The researchers were able to detect beta-2-transferrin in the fluid sample even when other proteins and salts were present and from samples across different patients. They used similar technology to detect proteins in SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Their next phase of research will focus on detecting various cancer and heart disease biomarkers.

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