A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego have devised a biosensor that helps in continuous monitoring of alcohol in the body. The miniature biosensor is injectable and could serve as an advantageous device for people who suffer from disorders due to excessive alcohol consumption or dosage. Furthermore, it would also be helpful for medical professionals and doctors to monitor the level of alcohol in patients. The biosensor is in the form of a mini-chip that can be implanted beneath the skin surface and is powered by a remote wireless device such as a smartwatch.
Overcoming the Current Challenges
Several challenges have obstructed smooth treatments of patients suffering from severe alcohol abuse. One of those challenges was the absence of efficient tools to monitor the levels of alcohols on a regular basis. The team of engineers states that the new biosensor would substantially aid the treatment mechanism against diseases caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Currently, the methods used for blood monitoring include blood samples and clunky devices including tattoo-based alcohol sensors. Although blood samples give an accurate measure, they need to be performed by trained technicians who are not always available. The devices that are used do not give accurate measures and may even give extremely aberrant values. The researchers expound that a tiny device that can be non-invasively implanted on the skin can help the patients to be wary of their condition at all times.
The sensor’s chip is coated with an enzyme called alcohol oxidase, which interacts with the alcohol to give a byproduct that can be electrochemically determined. It would be interesting to see how the new devices perform for patients with long-term cases of alcohol abuse.