Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Molecularly Imprinted Polymer Nanoparticles Enable Rapid, Reliable, and Robust Point-of-Care Thermal Detection of SARS-CoV-2

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jake McClementsORCiD, Dr Pankaj Singla, Dr Brendan PayneORCiD, Dr Shayan SeyedinORCiD, Professor Marloes PeetersORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Chemical Society, 2022.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Rapid antigen tests are currently used for population screening of COVID-19. However, they lack sensitivity and utilize antibodies as receptors, which can only function in narrow temperature and pH ranges. Consequently, molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles (nanoMIPs) are synthetized with a fast (2 h) and scalable process using merely a tiny SARS-CoV-2 fragment (∼10 amino acids). The nanoMIPs rival the affinity of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies under standard testing conditions and surpass them at elevated temperatures or in acidic media. Therefore, nanoMIP sensors possess clear advantages over antibody-based assays as they can function in various challenging media. A thermal assay is developed with nanoMIPs electrografted onto screen-printed electrodes to accurately quantify SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Heat transfer-based measurements demonstrate superior detection limits compared to commercial rapid antigen tests and most antigen tests from the literature for both the alpha (∼9.9 fg mL–1) and delta (∼6.1 fg mL–1) variants of the spike protein. A prototype assay is developed, which can rapidly (∼15 min) validate clinical patient samples with excellent sensitivity and specificity. The straightforward epitope imprinting method and high robustness of nanoMIPs produce a SARS-CoV-2 sensor with significant commercial potential for population screening, in addition to the possibility of measurements in diagnostically challenging environments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McClements J, Bar L, Singla P, Canfarotta F, Thomson A, Czulak J, Johnson R, Crapnell R, Banks C, Payne B, Seyedin S, Losada-Perez P, Peeters M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ACS Sensors

Year: 2022

Volume: 7

Issue: 4

Pages: 1122-1131

Print publication date: 22/04/2022

Online publication date: 13/04/2022

Acceptance date: 23/03/2022

Date deposited: 25/04/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2379-3694

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/acssensors.2c00100

ePrints DOI: 10.57711/3ehn-kw31


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric