The methacholine challenge test is considered to be the gold standard bronchoprovocation test used to diagnose asthma, and this test is always performed in pulmonary function labs or doctors’ offices. Methacholine (MCH) acts by inducing airway tightening/bronchoconstriction, and more importantly, MCH is hydrolyzed by cholinesterase enzyme (ChE). Recently, the American Thoracic Society raised concerns about pulmonary function testing during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recently reported correlation between cholinesterase and COVID-19 pneumonia severity/mortality, and it was shown that cholinesterase levels are reduced in the acute phase of severe COVID-19 pneumonia. This work describes the microfabrication of potentiometric sensors using copper as the substrate and chemically polymerized graphene nanocomposites as the transducing layer for tracking the kinetics of MCH enzymatic degradation in real blood samples. The in-vitro estimation of the characteristic parameters of the MCH metabolism [Michaelis-Menten constant (K) and reaction velocity (V)] were found to be 241.041 μM and 56.8 μM/min, respectively. The proposed sensor is designed to be used as a companion diagnostic device that can (i) answer questions about patient eligibility to perform methacholine challenge tests, (ii) individualize/personalize medical dosing of methacholine, (iii) provide portable and inexpensive devices allowing automated readouts without the need for operator intervention (iv) recommend therapeutic interventions including intensive care during early stages and reflecting the disease state of COVID-19 pneumonia. We hope that this methacholine electrochemical sensor will help in assaying ChE activity in a “timely” manner and predict the severity and prognosis of COVID-19 to improve treatment outcomes and decrease mortality.
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