Supported by more than $900,000 in federal grants, Iowa State University engineers are using graphene-based biosensors commonly studied for agriculture to develop more accessible testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, ISU announced this week. Two studies led by ISU are evaluating effective COVID-19 tests that can be easily scaled for mass manufacturing and tests that can be easily distributed to remote or vulnerable populations. The tests use the key material graphene, known for its strength, electrical conductivity and biocompatibility that has previously been tested for use in sensors to monitor food safety and soil conditions. To detect COVID-19, the material is used in saliva tests similar to the strips used to monitor glucose levels in people with diabetes; the COVID tests are expected to cost less than $6 each, ISU researchers said in a statement. Results are expected to be displayed in about 20 minutes. The studies are supported by Iowa State’s Office of the Vice President for Research, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health.