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Sensor detects drugs in a drop of bodily fluids


SOUTH Korean researchers have developed a portable wireless sensor that is able to detect a person’s intake of amphetamine-based drugs like Adderall, ecstasy and |crystal meth using just a |drop of sweat, saliva or urine.

The sensor was co-developed by South Korea’s Institute for Basic Science and Pohang University of Science and Technology. Their work was published Friday in Chem, a sister journal to the physical sciences journal Cell.
Now, drug testing involves using complex diagnostics devices that are often bulky, expensive and slow. There are cheaper, on-site drug testing devices available, but they |are unable to detect drug intake under 1 pm.
The Korean research team claims its newly developed portable sensor – at 1.5 x 3.5 centimetres – is 10,000 times as accurate as existing portable drug screening devices.
For now, the sensor has been designed as a smart bracelet prototype that syncs with a smartphone. If commercialised, the team expects the technology will make drug screening as easy as testing for alcohol intake with a breathalyser.
The IBS-Postech team built the sensor by coating an organic semiconductor with a chemical – Cucurbit[7]uril hydrate – that selectively bonds with amphetamine molecules.
When tested, the sensor’s sensitivity stood at 0.1 ppt for water and 0.1 ppb for urine, which is around 10,000 |times as sensitive as today’s existing portable drug |screening sensors.
“We expect our research to go beyond the confines of academia to shift the paradigm of drug screening procedures in the real world,” said Kim Ki-moon, the head of the IBS research team.
Looking ahead, the Korean research team plans to continue developing this sensor to screen for not only amphetamine-type drugs but also lethal toxins and endocrine disrupting chemicals.
 

Published : October 02, 2017

By : THE KOREA HERALD ASIA NEWS NETWORK SEOUL