No more needles for diagnostic tests? Nearly pain-free microneedle patch can test for antibodies and more in the fluid between cells — ScienceDaily

Blood attracts are no entertaining.

They damage. Veins can burst, or even roll — like they are striving to keep away from the needle, as well.

Frequently, medical professionals use blood samples to check out for biomarkers of illness: antibodies that sign a viral or bacterial infection, this kind of as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 or cytokines indicative of swelling seen in situations this kind of as rheumatoid arthritis and sepsis.

These biomarkers usually are not just in blood, even though. They can also be found in the dense liquid medium that surrounds our cells, but in a very low abundance that makes it tough to be detected.

Right up until now.

Engineers at the McKelvey University of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have produced a microneedle patch that can be applied to the skin, seize a biomarker of fascination and, thanks to its unprecedented sensitivity,

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