Optical Biosensors for the Diagnosis of COVID-19 and Other Viruses—A Review

Pauline John, Nilesh J. Vasa, Azhar Zam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge concern globally because of the astounding increase in mortality rates worldwide. The medical imaging computed tomography technique, whole-genome sequencing, and electron microscopy are the methods generally used for the screening and identification of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The main aim of this review is to emphasize the capabilities of various optical techniques to facilitate not only the timely and effective diagnosis of the virus but also to apply its potential toward therapy in the field of virology. This review paper categorizes the potential optical biosensors into the three main categories, spectroscopic-, nanomaterial-, and interferometry-based approaches, used for detecting various types of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Various classifications of spectroscopic techniques such as Raman spectroscopy, near-infrared spectroscopy, and fluorescence spectroscopy are discussed in the first part. The second aspect highlights advances related to nanomaterial-based optical biosensors, while the third part describes various optical interferometric biosensors used for the detection of viruses. The tremendous progress made by lab-on-a-chip technology in conjunction with smartphones for improving the point-of-care and portability features of the optical biosensors is also discussed. Finally, the review discusses the emergence of artificial intelligence and its applications in the field of bio-photonics and medical imaging for the diagnosis of COVID-19. The review concludes by providing insights into the future perspectives of optical techniques in the effective diagnosis of viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2418
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • artificial intelligence
  • COVID-19 virus
  • interferometry
  • Internet of Things
  • machine learning
  • nanomaterials
  • optical biosensors
  • optical diagnosis
  • optical spectroscopy
  • optical therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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