While mRNA vaccines have been well-studied in vitro and in animals prior to their use in the human population during the Covid-19 pandemic, their exact mechanisms of inducing immunity are still being elucidated. The large-scale collection of data necessary to fully understand these mechanisms, and their variability across heterogeneous populations, requires rapid diagnostic tests that accurately measure the various biomarkers involved in the immune response following vaccination. Recently, our lab developed a novel “Disposable Photonics” platform for rapid, label-free, scalable diagnostics that utilizes photonic ring resonator sensor chips combined with plastic micropillar cards able to provide passive microfluidic flow. Here, we demonstrate the utility of this system in confirming the presence of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in the serum of recently vaccinated subjects, as well as tracking a post-vaccination rise in anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. A maximum concentration in SARS-CoV-2 spike protein was detected one day after vaccination and was reduced below detectable levels within 10 days. This highlights the applicability of our rapid photonic sensor platform for acquiring the data necessary to understand vaccine mechanisms on a large scale, as well as individual patient responses to SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines.
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