Rapid identification of Covid-19 biomarkers in blood plasma using Raman spectroscopy and artificial intelligence

Team Lead: Dipankar Nandi
Email: nandi@iisc.ac.in


It is of critical importance to develop new technologies that can rapidly detect COVID-19 and perform mass testing, and at the same are cost-effective. In this regard, Raman spectroscopy holds significant promise. This is a collaborative project with Prof. Siva Umapathy’s laboratory in the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, IISc; Dr. Sarman Singh’s laboratory in AIIMS, Bhopal; Prof. Chiranjib Bhattacharya’s laboratory in the Department of Computer Science & Automation, IISc and Prof. Dipankar Nandi’s laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry, IISc.

Traditionally a chemist’s tool, Raman spectroscopy has found numerous applications in biomedicine, especially in disease diagnosis. This method probes bond vibrations and is very sensitive to the structural changes, giving a molecular fingerprint of the sample. Every disease is associated with a change in biochemistry which can either be a cause for disease manifestation or may be a consequence of the disease itself.

Our proposal is directed at identifying COVID-19 biomarkers in the blood plasma of infected patients. No extraction procedure or reagents are required. The only requirement is a spectrometer and the patient samples. Using artificial intelligence and deep learning, the detection process will be automated and rapid. Spectra collected from infected COVID-19 patients and healthy controls will be used for training and building robust classification models. 


A collaboration exists with AIIMS, Bhopal, that will be providing patient samples and healthy controls. The following are the specific objectives of the proposal: 

  • Raman spectroscopy of the patient plasma samples with viral respiratory diseases (including but not limited to COVID-19, H1N1 Swine flu, etc.) 
  • Feature extraction for obtaining COVID-specific Raman spectral signatures using machine learning and artificial intelligence-based approaches 
  • Testing of unknown patient samples using the database generated and validation of the prediction accuracy. 

The end goal is the implementation of the portable Raman spectrometer in hospitals, which has the stored database for the tested viral respiratory diseases, for automated and rapid testing of COVID-19 and related diseases with minimal plasma amounts. 

Current status:

Waiting for release of funds by SERB 

Team members: 

  • Principal investigator:  Prof. Dipankar Nandi, Dept. of Biochemistry, IISc, Bangalore 
  • Co-investigators: Prof. Siva Umapathy, Dept. of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, IISc, Bangalore and Prof. Sarman Singh, Director, AIIMS Bhopal 
  • Collaborator:  Chiranjib Bhattacharya, Dept. of Computer Science and Automation, IISc, Bangalore 

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