A colorimetric electronic tongue for point-of-care detection of COVID-19 using salivary metabolites

Talanta. 2022 Aug 15:246:123537. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2022.123537. Epub 2022 May 14.


The monitoring of profile concentrations of chemical markers in saliva samples can be used to diagnose COVID-19 patients, and differentiate them from healthy individuals. Here, this purpose is achieved by designing a paper-based colorimetric sensor with an origami structure, containing general receptors such as pH-sensitive organic dyes, Lewis donors or acceptors, functionalized nanoparticles, and ion metal complexes. The color changes taking place in the receptors in the presence of chemical markers are visually observed and recorded with a digital instrument. Different types and amounts of the chemical markers provide the sensor with a unique response for patients (60 samples) or healthy (55 samples) individuals. These two categories can be discriminated with 84.3% accuracy. This study evidences that the saliva composition of cured and healthy participants is different from each other with accuracy of 85.7%. Moreover, viral load values obtained from the rRT-PCR method can be estimated by the designed sensor. Besides COVID-19, it may possible to simultaneously identify smokers and people with kidney disease and diabetes using the specified electronic tongue. Due to its high efficiency, the prepared paper device can be employed as a rapid detection kit to detect COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; Colorimetric detection; Metabolomics; Paper-based device; Saliva; Sensor array.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Colorimetry / methods
  • Electronic Nose
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Point-of-Care Systems