In the wake of a pandemic, the development of rapid, simple, and accurate molecular diagnostic tests can significantly aid in reducing the spread of infections. By combining particle imaging with molecular assays, a quick and highly sensitive biosensor can readily identify a pathogen at low concentrations. Here, we implement functionalized particle-enabled rotational diffusometry in combination with loop-mediated isothermal amplification for the rapid detection of the SARS-CoV-2 nsp2 gene in the recombinant plasmid as a proof of concept for COVID-19 diagnostics. By analyzing the images of blinking signals generated by these modified particles, the change in micro-level viscosity due to nucleic acid amplification was measured. The high sensitivity of rotational diffusometry enabled facile detection within 10 min, with a limit of detection of 70 ag/μL and a sample volume of 2 μL. Tenfold higher detection sensitivity was observed for rotational diffusometry in comparison with real-time PCR. In addition, the system stability and the effect of temperature on rotational diffusometric measurements were studied and reported. These results demonstrated the utility of a rotational diffusometric platform for the rapid and sensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 cDNA fragments.
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