Have you ever imagined a COVID 19 detecting face mask that can make the COVID test easy and struggle free? We all know and might have experienced the struggle, pain and difficulty in collecting specimens from the nose. The happy news coming in the media is researchers at the Wyss Institute and M.I.T. (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have created a face mask that can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a wearer’s breath in under 90 minutes. This face mask is developed using freeze-dried cell-free reactions and a CRISPR-based biosensor. Such a mask would allow medical professionals to quickly identify COVID-19 patients and begin effective treatments. This facemask is a proof-of-concept for the research team’s Wearable Synthetic Biology platform and could be adapted to detect other pathogens and toxins.
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What Is COVID 19 Detecting Face Mask?
A team of researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found a way to embed synthetic biology reactions into fabrics, creating wearable biosensors that can be customized to detect pathogens and toxins and alert the wearer. The team has integrated this technology into standard face masks to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a patient’s breath.
The button-activated mask gives results within 90 minutes at levels of accuracy comparable to standard nucleic acid-based diagnostic tests like polymerase chain reactions (PCR). The achievement is reported in Nature Biotechnology.
Source: The Harvard Gazette
The sensors are placed on the inside of the mask.
“We’ve created an inexpensive sensor that can actually be integrated into any face mask, and it directly detects the SARS-CoV-2 virus from a user’s breath that collects on the inside of the face mask, and then it gives you a result within 90 minutes.
We’ve been battling the novel coronavirus for over a year now. And one thing that we’ve learned is that just having one type of diagnostic test can’t really tackle the large logistical challenges that are posed by this global pandemic.- We’ve also learned that a rapid diagnostic test is not always an indication of an active infection. Therefore developing different kinds of diagnostic tests to deploy for certain situations or populations has become critical to get this pandemic under control.
So in a hospital setting where a patient is admitted, they’re automatically fitted with the face mask to prevent the spread of the infection, so they’re presumed to be COVID-19 positive. But you still need a diagnostic result in order to move forward with treating the patient. And any delays in rapid diagnostic testing can actually hinder triaging of a patient as well as swift contact tracing, and therefore it really impairs the ability of medical professionals to provide the best of care.
What we did was to combine two technologies, lateral flow immunoassays, which are both very rapid and versatile with technology developed here at the Wyss Institute for highly sensitive detection of nucleic acids called SHERLOCK. By incorporating those two, we were able to produce a test that can rival the sensitivity and specificity of RT-PCR, we have essentially shrunk down an entire laboratory testing into a format that can be incorporated into any face mask.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we need a better toolkit for dealing with future disease outbreaks. We’re hopeful that our technology will help save lives in the near future and during the next pandemic.
This covid 19 detecting face mask is a new milestone that is helpful to detect covid 19 faster and start treatment at the earliest. It may help to save more lives. We should be thankful for the scientists and experts who are researching to find new ways to control this pandemic which has affected the whole world.
Recommended for further reading:
- 10 Must Know Facts About Hand Sanitisers During COVID-19
- How To Manage COVID19 Isolation – Useful Things You Can Do
- FAQs Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccine
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Mathukutty P. V. is the founder of Simply Life Tips, a passionate Blogger, Content writer, Influencer, YouTuber. Lives with a notion “SIMPLE LIVING, CREATIVE THINKING”. Believe – “Sharing is caring.” “Learning never ends.”