As announced today by the North American Institute (MIT), the masks, which are still in the prototype stage, incorporate sensors that make it possible to detect various viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
In the first phase, sensors were developed to diagnose the Ebola virus, with a recent study concluding that they could be used not only in face masks, but also in other personal protective equipment, such as medical gowns, allowing health professionals’ exposure to disease-causing threats to be monitored.
“We anticipate that this platform can enable biosensors for emergency, medical and military personnel.”said James Collins, professor of medical engineering and sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
According to the investigation, which was published in an article in the scientific journal Nature Biotechonoloy, the face mask’s sensors are designed so that they can be activated by those using the equipment, with only the results displayed inside to ensure privacy.
The development of these masks with sensors is the result of technology that has been perfected in recent years, but with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have adapted them to diagnose SARS-CoV-2.
In practice, sensors are placed inside the mask to allow viral particles to be detected in the wearer, analyze the breathing droplets accumulated inside as they are released and produce a result in about 90 minutes, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“This test is just as sensitive as the PCR tests, but as fast as the antigen tests that are used to screen for COVID-19 quickly,” said Peter Nguyen, a researcher at Harvard University, adding that he had already been requested for a patent. of this technology.
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