Navid Rajil, Alexei Sokolov, Zhenhuan Yi, Garry Adams, Girish Agarwal, Vsevolod Belousov, Robert Brick, Kimberly Chapin, Jeffrey Cirillo, Volker Deckert, Sahar Delfan, Shahriar Esmaeili, Alma Fernández-González, Edward Fry, Zehua Han, Philip Hemmer, George Kattawar, Moochan Kim, Ming-Che Lee, Chao-Yang Lu, Jon Mogford, Benjamin Neuman, Jian-Wei Pan, Tao Peng, Vincent Poor, Steven Scully, Yanhua Shih, Szymon Suckewer, Anatoly Svidzinsky, Aart Verhoef, Dawei Wang, Kai Wang, Lan Yang, Aleksei Zheltikov, Shiyao Zhu, Suhail Zubairy, Marlan Scully
September 29, 2020
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, told NBC News on “Meet the Press” that “[T]he U.S. needs a ‘breakthrough’ in coronavirus testing to help screen Americans and get a more accurate picture of the virus’ spread.” We have been involved with biopathogen detection since the 2001 anthrax attacks and were the first to detect anthrax in real-time. A variation on the laser spectroscopic techniques we developed for the rapid detection of anthrax can be applied to detect the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2 virus). In addition to detecting a single virus, this technique allows us to read its surface protein structure. In particular, we have been conducting research based on a variety of quantum optical approaches aimed at improving our ability to detect Corona Virus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) viral infection. Indeed, the detection of a small concentration of antibodies, after an infection has passed, is a challenging problem. Likewise, the early detection of disease, even before a detectible antibody population has been established, is very important. Our team is researching both aspects of this problem. The paper is written to stimulate the interest of both physical and biological scientists in this important problem. It is thus written as a combination of tutorial (review) and future work (preview). We join Prof. Federico Capasso and Editor Dennis Couwenberg in expressing our appreciation to all those working so heroically on all aspects of the COVID-19 problem. And we thank Drs. Capasso and Couwenberg for their invitation to write this paper.