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Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

August 10, 2021

Researchers led by the Universidad de Sevilla (University of Seville, Spain) have developed a technique to detect remotely viruses (including synthetic SARS-CoV-2) deposited on surfaces using hyperspectral imaging.

  • They have developed a new technique to detect viruses in liquid droplets and dry residues deposited on surfaces, through the use of hyperspectral images and data processing based on advanced statistics and Artificial Intelligence.

  • The technique has been applied successfully in two synthetic models of SARS-CoV-2. Research continues on human samples.

  • The research, funded by the Institute of Health ‘Carlos III’ of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, published by the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), has allowed for patenting a technique capable of simultaneously analyzing numerous samples, without the need for contact or the use of reagents


A group of Spanish researchers has designed and patented a new optical technique that makes it possible to detect the presence of viruses in drops of fluids and in dry residues on a surface. The work has been led by Prof. Emilio Gómez-González, Full Professor of Applied Physics at the School of Engineering of the University of Seville.


The new technique is based on the recording of hyperspectral images in the visible and near infrared ranges and their processing using advanced statistical algorithms and artificial intelligence. It has been applied to the detection of two types of synthetic viruses commonly used as SARS-CoV-2 models (synthetic lentiviruses and coronaviruses) in two fluids (saline and artificial saliva). The results of these studies have been published in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). The researchers keep working actively on the analysis of human samples of SARS-CoV-2.


The designed method uses hyperspectral imaging technology, recently used for the detection of pathogens, mainly bacteria and fungi, in the agricultural industry and in biology. But the work goes further and develops and extends this technology to the health field for the detection of viruses through an innovative and complex process. In summary, the system records images of the samples arranged in a matrix and determines the positions in which the presence of virus and its concentration are detected.


Spanish research with a strong Andalusian component and European support


The work of these researchers has been developed within the framework of the C-CLEAN Project, fundedby the COVID-19 Emergency Call of the Institute of Health ‘’, dependent on the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain. This publication presents first results of a project that generated great interest when it was launched over a year ago, in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic.

More than 30 researchers from 11 different institutions participate in the C-CLEAN Project: the  Universidad de Sevilla, Spain (coordinator), the EOD-CBRN Group of the Spanish National Police, the University Hospital ‘Virgen del Rocío’ (Seville, Spain), the University Hospital ‘Virgen Macarena’ (Seville, Spain), the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBIS), Spain, the Andalusian Network of Design and Translation of Advanced Therapies (RAdytTA), Spain, the University of Cádiz-INIBICA, Spain, the Astronomical Observatory ‘Calar Alto’ (CAHA, Almería, Spain), the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalucia (IAA)-CSIC (Granada, Spain), and the Technological Corporation of Andalusia (CTA), Spain, with the collaboration of the HUMAINT Project of the Joint Research Center (JRC), European Commission (EC).  

This project has been carried out in a very short time (15 months) and in the extraordinarily difficult circumstances derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The idea of ​​the method and the design of the system are from the principal investigator, Prof. Emilio Gómez-González, professor in the Department of Applied Physics III of the Higher Technical School of Engineering of the University of Seville, where he directs his Interdisciplinary Physics Group (GFI), researcher of the Applied Neuroscience Group of the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBIS) and collaborator of the JRC HUMAINT Project.




Paper published in Scientific Reports (10 August 2021, in English)

About the C-CLEAN Project (4/14/20, in Spanish)

More information:


Communication (Press) Office of the Universidad de Sevilla


Luis Garcia

Tlf: (+34) 699 822 124



Group of Interdisciplinary Physics (GFI) of the Universidad de Sevilla



Photos of the Prototype:

Experimental set-up and prototype at the Laboratory of the Group of Interdisciplinary Physics, Department of Applied Physics III, ETSI Engineering School, University of Seville, Spain.

Montaje C-CLEAN.jpg
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