A low-cost sensor chip with graphite-based molecularly imprinted polymer as the electrode for detecting and monitoring theophylline levels. (Credit: Yasuo Yoshimi/SIT, Japan)

Scientists have developed a disposable, paper-based THO sensor consisting of an electrode made of molecularly imprinted graphite. Since MIPs are designed using the target molecule as a template, the team used THO as a template when developing the sensor’s carbon-based electrode paste. The synthesized paste was then loaded onto a printed sensor chip and its THO detection abilities were tested.

The sensor was found to be highly sensitive (meaning it could detect even small amounts of THO) and showed great selectivity toward the drug. In fact, the sensor could identify THO even in samples with THO concentrations as low as 2.5 μg/mL. The sensor needs only 3 seconds to detect THO.

The portable, low-cost, reliable, and rapid sensor has long-term stability and can be used for the real-time detection of drugs like THO without depending on sophisticated equipment. The fabrication strategy provided in this study can be used to develop efficient electrochemical sensors for various other clinical interventions

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