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Developing a faster, cheaper method to detect viruses

This is Science Today. A device that can quickly and inexpensively identify viruses is being developed by researchers at the University of California, Irvine and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. UCI physicist Zuzanna Siwy says the key element of their device is a membrane that serves as a barrier.

Siwy:               But that barrier has one opening in it through which things can pass through and we call it a nanopore.

Narrator:        This membrane is placed between two cartridges filled with a solution of salt. Using current from a battery, the salt passes through the nanopore, creating a signal that can be measured.

Siwy:               Now, imagine that you have a virus in the solution as well. Well, the virus will want to pass through the nanopore as well but is much larger than the constituents of the salt.  So even a single virus will cause obstruction of the nanopore and the level of it will depend on the type of the virus. 

Narrator:        The next step is to work with killed influenza virus to provide proof of principle. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.