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Diagnostic Microchip Inserted Under Skin Can Detect COVID-19

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Apr 2021
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Image: Diagnostic Microchip Inserted Under Skin Can Detect COVID-19 (Photo courtesy of DARPA)
Image: Diagnostic Microchip Inserted Under Skin Can Detect COVID-19 (Photo courtesy of DARPA)
Researchers have created a microchip that can detect COVID-19 when inserted under the skin.

The implantable microchip developed by medical researchers at the US Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA; Arlington, VA, USA) can monitor the human body for signs of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Details of the revolutionary technology were shared on the 60 Minutes Show by Matthew Hepburn, an infectious disease physician and retired Army colonel who is heading DARPA’s response to the pandemic.

Hepburn told CBS that the microchip, embedded in a tissue-like gel, would continuously test the chip recipient’s blood for presence of the coronavirus. Upon detecting COVID-19, the chip would alert the patient to conduct a self-administered rapid blood test to confirm the positive result. According to Hepburn, DARPA had also developed a filter to remove the SARS-CoV-2 virus from the blood through a dialysis machine. The filter had been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and had already been used on 300 patients. Additionally, Hepburn compared the diagnostic microchip to a car’s “Check engine” alert and assured that DARPA’s chip would neither “track your every move” nor be administered via vaccines.

“It’s a sensor,” Hepburn told CBS. “That tiny green thing in there, you put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow. We can have that information in three to five minutes. As you truncate that time, as you diagnose and treat, what you do is you stop the infection in its tracks.”

Related Links:
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

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