COVID-19 Concept with Researchers Photo; Getty Images

Scientists, researchers innovate nose mask that can detect COVID-19

*The technology with ease-of-use has been made a focal point, leading the scientists to develop a one-button click to activate the device’s circuitry

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In the continued efforts at tackling the continued spread of the damaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic globally, researchers and scientists have risen to the occasion by reintroducing technology that could possibly reduce the transmission of the virus.

It was gathered a report from Nature Biotechnology says scientists at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have invented a mask that detects the Coronavirus.

Nose masks

Woven into the mask is a literal network of sensors and synthetic circuits that, within 90 minutes, can detect when the virus accumulates on the inside of the mask as a result of coughing, talking, or normal respiration, agency report stated.

It is noted that the technology has been around for a while, and it was previously used to create experimental diagnostic tools for the Ebola and Zika viruses.

At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic 2019, the researchers regrouped and worked for more than a year to turn the experimental technology into a product that could help prevent its spread, according to report.

Improvements cover all bases

In terms of improvements over the previous effort, referencing a report in New Atlas, the game-changing technology goes a few steps further than it did in its Ebola and Zika incarnation.

For one thing, ease-of-use has been made a focal point, leading the scientists to develop a one-button click to activate the device’s circuitry.

When the button is pressed, a small amount of water is released that hydrates freeze-dried molecules in the sensor.

Those molecules then analyse the wearer’s breath and produce a readout that’s similar to a pregnancy test.

However, in fearing that the mask could potentially malfunction for some reason and cause the virus organisms to migrate to the human body, researchers also programmed the sensors to use a system that “extracts and freeze dries the cellular machinery needed to detect organic molecules.”

The researchers say the sensor technology goes beyond the mask level, and is tiny enough to be integrated into clothing fabrics.

Study co-author Peter Nguyen said: “We have essentially shrunk an entire diagnostic laboratory down into a small, synthetic biology-based sensor that works with any face mask, and combines the high accuracy of PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests with the speed and low cost of antigen tests.”

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