An implantable biochip developed by the U.S. government-funded Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that can detect COVID-19 might be available by 2021, according to a report.
The DARPA-created biochip is injectable into the human body and reportedly is able to change human DNA and could be used to detect a COVID-19 infection, per Mint Press News (MPN).
The nanochip can also be used to deploy an experimental vaccine, and both could be ready as soon as early next year. Profusa Inc. is funded by NIH and DARPA and, in March, announced the injectable biochip for the detection of viral respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
"The real important discovery here was you could now use mRNA [messenger ribonucleic acid], and if you got it into the cells, then you could get the mRNA to express any protein in the cells, and this was the big thing," Canadian scientist Derek Rossi, who co-founded Cambridge, Massachusetts, biotech company Moderna, told National Post.
Rossi is no longer affiliated with Moderna, which is one of the "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine companies hoping to get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine through phase three trials to earn an emergency use authorization before the end of the year.
The "hydrogel" chip is being produced by DARPA's "In Vivo Nanoplatforms" (IVN) program, which began in 2014, and the sensors can be implanted in their core to measure levels of glucose, oxygen, and lactate, according to MPN.
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