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UArizona researchers work on device to detect COVID-19, other illnesses

Posted at 6:41 AM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 09:41:03-04

TUCSON, Ariz, - Researchers at the University of Arizona have received a grant to help them continue working on a device that would detect COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Judith Su, the head of the Little Sensory Lab, is working on the FLOWER device. Su told KGUN9 the device would detect down to a singular molecule of anything from doping agents to COVID-19, cancer, and even Alzheimer's.

“It can be adapted to look at a lot of different things," said Su.

Su added she believes the device will prove extremely useful in detecting COVID-19 when it's in its earliest stages.

“It can take up to 10 days or even more to see symptoms and so this is a situation where because we have such a sensitive sensor we can detect lower concentrations of the virus and detect this at a really early stage," she said.

Su said the device currently sits on a lab table, but the hope for the future is that it's much more accessible.

“Ideally we want a handheld cell phone device where you just have this attachment, you breath on it, you spit on it, you put a little bit of urine or blood and you get a really simple read out, like a green line, yes I have COVID, no, I don’t.”

The team of researchers recently received a grant for $1.8 million to advance the device.