Viral infections are a major global health issue, but no current method allows rapid, direct, and ultrasensitive quantification of intact viruses with the ability to inform infectivity, causing misdiagnoses and spread of the viruses. Here, we report a method for direct detection and differentiation of infectious from noninfectious human adenovirus and SARS-CoV-2, as well as from other virus types, without any sample pretreatment. DNA aptamers are selected from a DNA library to bind intact infectious, but not noninfectious, virus and then incorporated into a solid-state nanopore, which allows strong confinement of the virus to enhance sensitivity down to 1 pfu/ml for human adenovirus and 1 × 104 copies/ml for SARS-CoV-2. Applications of the aptamer-nanopore sensors in different types of water samples, saliva, and serum are demonstrated for both enveloped and nonenveloped viruses, making the sensor generally applicable for detecting these and other emerging viruses of environmental and public health concern.
- severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
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