Three questions to

Prof. Börje Sellergren (Biofilm Research Center for Biointerfaces, Malmö University) about his project “Biomimetic sensors for the rapid detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus”.

What´s the novelty with this project? 
Our reversible self-assembled monolayers (rSAMs) can be seen as rugged mimics of lipid bilayer membranes which can be used to boost sensitivity in virus detection to very high levels. This project focuses on adapting rSAMs to SARS-Cov-2 detection in a fiberoptic nanoplasmonic sensor format featuring low cost, fast response and ruggedness for monitoring of health status or for environmental virus surveillance.

Future implications?
The need for rapid response upon pandemic threats suggests that a new generation quick tests are needed that are not relying on slow to develop antibodies or PCR. We use a mobile epitope approach to mimic the host cell ACE2 receptor in a simple, robust and affordable construct that are easy to produce. With only small changes to the design we can therefore rapidly adapt the sensors/tests to the new virus variants, which is not easy to achieve with alternative approaches.

What´s next? 
We are currently validating the first generation sensor in collaboration with optical sensor experts in Linköping. Preliminary results have shown the sensor to bind the virus with affinities exceeding the host-cell virus interactions in simple model systems. Key now is to investigate the cross reactivity with other virus variants, to tune the mobile epitope design and to test the sensors in relevant bio- or environmental matrices.

For more info about the project please contact Börje Sellergren,

Foto: Leif Johansson


Research highlights from NanoMed North members

If you would like to share a publication within the nanomedicine area please contact

• Membrane Interactions of virus-like mesoporous silica nanoparticles Antimicrobial peptides

(AMPs) are a class of compounds that are attracting interest due to the increase in antibiotic resistance among bacteria. Virus-like mesoporous nanoparticles could be of interest as delivery systems for AMPs. Find out more about this research here.

•  Electrochemical methods for monitoring of bacterial growth

Electrochemical methods are of importance for microbial diagnostics and are commonly employed in biosensors. This work demonstrates the use of a single-well organic electrochemical transistor (OECT) to monitor bacterial growth in real-time. Read more about this research here.

• Optimizing gold nanoparticle-assisted plasmonic photothermal therapy

Gold nanorod-assisted plasmonic photothermal therapy (PPTT) has emerged as a promising treatment for cancer. Findings in this study can have a positive impact on the use and optimization of PPTT in combating tumors. Read more about this research here.