Detecting Cytokine storm using Sweat biosensor

by Tryammbak Kansal

Cytokine storm is an overactive immune response that is usually caused by a severe immune

response. Although cytokines are important non-structural proteins that are responsible to produce

an initial immune response by working as a messenger a but overabundance of cytokines (cytokine

storm) can be lethal. It can cause problems such as an immune conundrum, organ failure, and other

issues including death.

One of the main causes of COVID-19 all over the world is cytokine storm. It is observed in all the

severe cases of COVID-19. Cytokine storm requires immediate medical attention and any delay can

be fatal for the patient. To detect Cytokine storm University of Texas in Dallas has developed a sweat

biosensor that can detect cytokine storm directly from the sweat. This sensor is so sensitive that can

even detect cytokine present in the low-picogram-per-ml range and even have an ability to detect

cytokines detect in people who have taken anti-inflammatory medications.

The electrodes on the biosensor are coated with antibodies that can bind to seven different forms of

inflammatory proteins. These proteins are interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α),

TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, IL-10, interferon-γ-induced protein-10, and C-reactive

protein. These all are more commonly seen in patients undergoing cytokine storm and can as a

biomarker especially in the case of COVID-19.

This revolutionary sensor can be worn integrated into a smartwatch or wrist band. It can be

connected to the smartphones to get directions as to when cytokine protein binds with sensors the

electric current changes to give off the estimation levels of the different protein in the sample.

Cytokine can be measured daily because sweat interacts with the sensor regularly and then drifts to

new readings.

Needless to say that biosensors still have a long way to go. Currently, this sensor can work for 168

hours or approx. a week before it needs to be replaced. However, this technology has the potential

to be a major player in precision medical and diagnostic technology.

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