KL University develops paper sensor to measure Vitamin-D deficiency

Supplements without checking Vitamin D, B12 levels can be unsafe.(Photo: Unsplash)
Image used for the representational purpose: IANS

Hyderabad: The KL Deemed-to-be University has developed a unique handmade paper sensor that can measure Vitamin-D deficiency with high accuracy.

Developed by the team of Pradeep Kumar Brahman from the Department of Chemistry along with Tummala Anusha, a research scholar on the institute's Andhra Pradesh campus, the sensor is for quick and reliable monitoring of Vitamin-D.

This technology can lead smaller clinics, dispensaries in remote areas, medical facilities in geographically inaccessible locations, and smaller facilities to measure Vitamin-D deficiencies without any bulky equipment or labs. The work was recently published in the microchemical journal, Elsevier.

The cost of this paper sensor will come to approximately Rs 40 to 50, whereas the cost of commercially available tests for Vitamin-D in hospitals and labs is around Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000.

The team at the university has tested the proof-of-concept with several real-life samples and concluded that the accuracy of this sensor is at over 94 per cent which is at par with the existing commercially available tests. The sensor produces results and generates the reports within 30 minutes, saving crucial time for diagnoses.

The sensor has been developed by designing a paper electrode in a specific dimension and printing the patterned electrode on an A4 photocopy paper with a specially designed ink - Conductive Ink - that includes cobalt-silver doped copolymer-ionic liquid and acts as a sensor to detect Vitamin-D deficiency.

The strip, along with two common electrodes (Reference and Counter Electrodes), is then dipped in the patient's serum sample containing electrolyte solution in a voltametric cell. An amperometric measurement is recorded at a constant potential.

The obtained current corresponds to the level of Vitamin-D concentration. The three electrodes are connected to a Potentiostat, which is further connected to a monitor on which the lab technician can view the results of the Vitamin-D sensor.

The development of this technology is also significant in view a study published in the journal Endocrine that low levels of Vitamin-D are associated with a higher risk of Covid-19 hospitalisation cases.

Vitamin-D deficiency was recently postulated to be a factor associated with an increased risk of poor prognosis in Covid-19. Experts say that individuals with lower levels of Vitamin-D are at higher risk of developing hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

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