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Detection of Airborne Viruses

The emergence of lab-on-a-chip (LoC) devices has raised hopes for cost-effective and rapid pathogen detection and near-patient diagnostics. Nevertheless, the commercialization of such devices for everyday life has not lived up to expectations due to the hurdles associated with both performance, and cost of production. Thanks to ultra-sensitive electronic technologies, along with a novel and industrially compatible packaging platform developed in our group, we aim to bridge the gap between academic research and commercial products. Based on such visions, our group is involved, in collaboration with other prestigious universities and leading companies, for various EU projects to develop highly functional and cost-effective devices for point-of-care viral detection.

Within the framework of the RAPP-ID project, research includes technologies for rapid and ultrasensitive detection of Influenza virus directly from human breath. Breath aerosols are the targeted component for such a device, since Influenza is shown to be transmitted in aerosolized droplets originating from the human airways. This makes exhaled breath an ideal candidate for a minimally invasive diagnosis of infections.

Within the framework of the NOROSENSOR project, research includes technologies for the rapid and ultrasensitive detection of Norovirus in ambient air. Norovirus, or Calicivirus, is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis, also called the Winter Vomit Disease. Yearly outbreaks incapacitate hundreds of staff and thousands of patients for several days, and causes the closure of entire wards in hospitals in developed countries world-wide.

In both RAPP-ID and NOROSENSOR, we specifically study aerosol sample collection via electrohydrodynamic transport, viral biomarker detection on Quartz Crystal Microbalances (QCMs), as well as the microfluidic integration of a diagnostic assay using the novel OSTEmer™ polymer platform (also developed at MST).

Aerosol Sampling

The focus is on development of miniaturized systems to capture aerosol from litres of air directly onto a microfluidic lab-on-chip for subsequent analysis. The system relies on capture of aerosols using electrostatic precipitation, specifically employing corona discharge to charge microscopic particles and droplets in breath or ambient air and electrophoretically transporting them to a microfluidic platform for further analysis. 

QCM technology

The aim is to use integrated QCMs for specific detection of biomolecules by monitoring vibrational changes due to the addition of mass on the sensor surface. By functionalizing the surface with recognition molecules (e.g. antibodies), pathogens (e.g. virus) can be trapped on the surface and detected by a resonance shift.

OSTEmer platform for Lab-on-Chip integration

The use of the OSTE family of polymers allows for research prototypes to be brought into medium to high volume production devices at an unprecedented speed, thanks to the similarities between specially formulated OSTE polymers and injection molding plastics such as COC (Cyclic Olefin Copolymer) and Polycarbonate in terms of mechanical and surface properties. For more information on the unique OSTEmer technology developed, please visit 

Project members


  • NOROSENSOR is sponsored by the European Commission through the seventh Framework Programme FP7.
  • RAPP-ID is partly funded by the European Innovative Medicine Innitiative (IMI).


  • Karolinska Institute
  • Linköping University
  • LoughboroughUniveristy
  • QCM Labs
  • Stockholm University
  • Getinge
  • Future Diagnostics  
  • GSK
  • Novartis
  • Janssen Diagnostic/Johnson&Johnson
  • Uppsala University
  • KU Leuven
  • Loughborough University
  • University of Cambridge
  • Univeristy of Antewerp
  • q-linea
  • Microfluidic ChipShop
  • Lionex
  • Mobidiag
  • University Twente
  • Sanofi
  • Imec
  • Cardiff University
  • VD Vaccine & Infectious Disease Institute
  • MSD
  • PBM-uGent
  • University of Geneva

Publications related to this project