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Improving hepatitis B diagnosis

New graphene real-time sensing methods to improve hepatitis B diagnosis

  • Scientists develop real-time sensing methods resulting in rapid hepatitis B detection
  • Commercialisation allows point of care testing resulting in diagnosis and treatment in one visit

London – Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed real-time sensing methods and test protocols resulting in real-time detection of hepatitis B virus.

Data shows 884,000 people die each year from hepatitis B and related complications. Of the 350 million to 400 million individuals worldwide infected with the hepatitis B virus, one-third reside in China, with 130 million carriers and 30 million chronically infected*. Early diagnosis provides an opportunity for effective medical support and prevention of transmission. Developing a commercial, rapid sensor for monitoring serum and saliva hepatitis markers would have huge healthcare impact in China and worldwide.

NPL developed rapid sending methods and test protocols resulting in real-time detection of hepatitis B virus using a hybrid graphene-gold nanoparticle biosensor. This has successfully detected the antigen in the concentration ranges of 0-1000 pg/ml, which will be needed to detect the virus in field testing. The sensor shows an excellent linearity and the detection limit of 30 pg/ml. Full commercialisation of this product will allow point of care testing in health clinics around the world to allow diagnosis and initial treatment in one visit.

The collaborative work between UK and China partners has been funded by the Newton Fund partnered with the British Council. With UK partners, Biovici Ltd and Swansea University, NPL has collaborated in the production of a graphene-based passivated device, known as a “dip chip” which can be used for electrochemical sensing for the presence of hepatitis B antibodies. The initial designs have been transferred to Chongqing University and Changzhou Tanwei Nanotech Co. Ltd. China where graphene devices have been fabricated.  

Olga Kazakova, Science Area Leader, National Physical Laboratory (NPL) states: “NPL are proud to say that their work in developing graphene measurement and standards is being utilised by the Chinese partners in the development of their nascent graphene industry. It is fantastic that a tangible output of this collaboration is the prototyping of this healthcare sensor which, when fully productionised, has the ability to impact and improve the health of millions across the world.”

Find out more about our graphene characterisation capability at NPL.

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