Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 Patient Nasal Swab Samples Using Signal Processing

Mahmoud Al Ahmad, Lillian J.A. Olule, Mohammed Meetani, Farrukh Amin Sheikh, Rahima Al Blooshi, Neena G. Panicker, Farah Mustafa, Tahir A. Rizvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This work presents an opto-electrical method that measures the viral nucleocapsid protein and anti-N antibody interactions to differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 negative and positive nasal swab samples. Upon light exposure of the patient nasal swab sample mixed with the anti-N antibody, charge transfer (CT) transitions within the altered protein folds are initiated between the charged amino acids side chain moieties and the peptide backbone that play the role of donor and acceptor groups. A Figure of Merit (FOM) was introduced to correlate the relative variations of the samples with and without antibody at two different voltages. Empirically, SARS-CoV-2 in patient nasal swab samples was detected within two minutes, if an extracted FOM threshold of >1 was achieved; otherwise, the sample wasconsidered negative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-174
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Signal Processing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • light intensity
  • nucleocapsid protein
  • optical detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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