By: Azman Zakaria
Photograph by: Noor Azreen Awang
SERDANG - A group of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) successfully invented a Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) Sensor Chip, an an innovation that swiftly detects dengue virus at early stages.
As an optical device, SPR is highly sensitive to any changes in refractive fluid index, including blood and water, adjacent to a layer of metal surface required to produce this phenomenon.
Based on this concept, SPR has high potential of emerging as an effective alternative optical sensor.
The principal researcher, Dr. Yap Wing Fen, from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, said the sensor chip that was developed to combine optical phenomena will be able to speedily detect the virus.
He mentioned that early detection is essential to treat dengue virus as there is no vaccine or special treatment to prevent the virus infection at present.
Accordingly, he said that highly sensitive sensors such as SPR are required to detect dengue virus.
“The presence of the virus, if any, can be detected in a few minutes after the test or filtration,” said Dr. Yap.
He asserted that controlling the spread of dengue virus (DENV) in the early stages is crucial in reducing mortality, especially in remote areas lacking advanced technology due to the difficult geographical positioning for logistics.
Dr. Yap said that apart from the medical field, SPR spectroscopy, which is a fast-optical sensor, can also be used for the purpose of environmental control and metal ions detection that harm human body such as mercury and copper ions, which are the main pollutants.
He also said that it can be used to detect harmful metals in water such as river, especially in industrial areas where there is high demand for clean drinking water.
According to Dr. Yap, the advantages of this product are that it is cheap, easy and convenient to use, environmentally friendly, capable of rapid measurements, durable, high accuracy, high sensitivity and repetitive use and monitors real-time molecular interactions.
He said research to create water-related SPR started in 2011, whereas for dengue, the work started in 2017.
He commented that the team is seeking industry partners or donors for collaboration to carry out further research to increase its effectiveness, and they intend to collaborate with several agencies including the Ministry of Health and Department of Environment.
Further research needs to be completed before the product is fully marketed, he said, adding that the sensor chips could potentially be commercialised worldwide, especially in industrial areas.
The innovation won gold medal in the ‘invention, innovation, design exposition’ (iidex) 2018, gold medal in Research and Innovation Designs Exhibition (PRPI) 2016, gold medal at the Malaysian Innovation Expo (Miexpo) 2015, silver medal at the International Conference and Exposition on Inventions by Institutions of Higher Learning (PECIPTA) 2017, and bronze medal at the Malaysia Technology Expo (MTE) 2015.
Other researchers in the team include Prof Dr. W. Mahmood Mat Yunus, Prof Dr. Mohd Adzir Mahdi, Dr. Jaafar Abdullah, Dr. Amir Reza, as well as PhD and Master students, Nur Alia Sheh Omar, Afiq Azri Zainudin, Sura Hmoud, Faten Kamal Eddin, Wan Mohd Ebtisyam Mustaqim Mohd Daniyal, Silvan Saleviter, Nur Ain Asyiqin Anas, Nur Syahira Md Ramdzan, Mohammad Danial Aizad Roshidi, Hazwani Suhaila Hashim, and Nurul Illya Muhamad Fauzi. - UPM
Date of Input: 30/11/2018 | Updated: 30/11/2018 | hairul_nizam
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