Toward Rapid and Sensitive Detection of SARS-CoV-2 with Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles

ACS Sens. 2021 Mar 26;6(3):976-984. doi: 10.1021/acssensors.0c02160. Epub 2021 Jan 26.


The outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) threatens global medical systems and economies and rules our daily living life. Controlling the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has become one of the most important and urgent strategies throughout the whole world. As of October 2020, there have not yet been any medicines or therapies to be effective against SARS-CoV-2. Thus, rapid and sensitive diagnostics is the most important measures to control the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. Homogeneous biosensing based on magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) is one of the most promising approaches for rapid and highly sensitive detection of biomolecules. This paper proposes an approach for rapid and sensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 with functionalized MNPs via the measurement of their magnetic response in an ac magnetic field. For proof of concept, mimic SARS-CoV-2 consisting of spike proteins and polystyrene beads are used for experiments. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed approach allows the rapid detection of mimic SARS-CoV-2 with a limit of detection of 0.084 nM (5.9 fmole). The proposed approach has great potential for designing a low-cost and point-of-care device for rapid and sensitive diagnostics of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; ac susceptibility; limit of detection; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetic particle spectroscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Biosensing Techniques
  • Magnetic Phenomena
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • SARS-CoV-2* / immunology
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / chemistry*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Polystyrenes
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus