Researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas, in collaboration with a company called EnLiSense, developed a wearable electrochemical sweat sensor that can detect chemokines in sweat, alerting the user and clinicians to viral or bacterial infection. The device also warns of an impending cytokine storm, in which high levels of inflammatory molecules are released from the body at once, which often proves fatal. The carrying device may be particularly useful in cases of severe COVID-19, in which the cytokine storm is a significant risk.
Sweat sensors are evolving rapidly and this latest proposal has an interesting application – the detection of inflammatory molecules associated with infections. In this particular case, the researchers adapted the electrochemical sensor to detect interferon-gamma-induced protein (IP-10) and tumor-related necrosis factor-inducing apoptosis ligand (TRAIL), both of which are associated with a cytokine storm, a potentially fatal complication of some infections, including COVID-19.
“Our work is pioneering, as it was not clear until then whether these molecules were present in sweat,” said Shalini Prasad, a researcher involved in the study. “We found that our low-volume passive sweating technology is indeed able to measure these biomarkers.”
Interestingly, the sensor allows clinicians to distinguish whether someone is likely to have a bacterial or viral infection, although a follow-up test will be needed to determine the exact pathogen. The sensor can operate through passive sweat and does not require the user to perform strenuous activity to generate enough sweat to perform the measurement. This is just as good as the sensor is designed to be worn by patients.
The new sensor can analyze sweat in real time, although the device contains a conveyor belt that collects sweat and must be changed daily. The most valuable aspect of the device is its function as an early warning system for cytokine storms that can occur during various serious infections. If clinicians are warned of an impending cytokine storm, then they may have a better chance of saving the patient’s life.
“We have built technology to unlock and explore the latest frontiers in sweat diagnostics,” Prasad said. “This sweat-based, wearable technology from EnLiSense is truly transformative, as it can measure and report human host response molecules related to inflammation and infection in real time and continuously.
Watch a video of the technology below, which was created when researchers unveiled their technology at the ACS Spring 2021 virtual meeting.
Learn in Advanced materials technologies: A new approach to monitoring the life cycle of inflammation from the expression of chemokines to inflammatory proteins in sweat using an electrochemical biosensor
Link: EnLiSense Home…
through: University of Texas at Dallas