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Nanosensing Airborne Pathogens for Public Biosecurity

Using nanotechnology to improve pandemic preparedness

Operating a paradigm shift from the search for infected individuals to the detection of airborne pathogens by developing nanosensors.

Large pandemics have been documented as early as the 14th century, yet the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that when confronted with new biological threats, the global population lacks the technologies needed to effectively respond. The current methods for coping with pandemics and minimising the threat of infection involve social distancing, lockdowns, and the detection of symptomatic people. However, quarantines are difficult to regulate and negatively affect the mental health of those forced to isolate. Additionally, lockdowns cause extreme financial distress to both governments and individuals, with a $30 to $60 billion loss forecast for the Australian economy over the next decade.

This Grand Challenge aims to operate a paradigm shift to improve pandemic preparedness, from the search for infected individuals to the detection of airborne pathogens for timely intervention and prevention of infection. Viruses are small particles on the micro to nano scale that can be detected with the latest innovations in nanotechnology. Our project seeks to create sensors that are able to detect small concentrations of the virus in the air, allowing for detection and subsequent elimination of the virus before infection can occur. This will also improve our understanding about how the virus spreads, thus informing our action when outbreaks occur. 

This Grand Challenge aims to operate a paradigm shift from the search for infected individuals to the detection of airborne pathogens for timely intervention and prevention of infection.

Corinne Caillaud

Professor
Address
  • R.C. Mills A26

Antonio Tricoli

Professor
Address
  • Room 565 Electrical Engineering J03