Novel Face Mask Developed By MIT, Harvard Can Detect COVID-19 Infection.

Novel Face Mask Developed By MIT, Harvard Can Detect COVID-19 Infection

The sensors are placed on the inside of the mask.

Boston:

Researchers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a new face mask that can diagnose if the wearer is infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, within 90 minutes.

The mask design, described in the journal Nature Biotechnology, has embedded tiny, disposable sensors that can be fitted into other face masks, and could also be adapted to detect other viruses.

The researchers showed that the sensors could be incorporated into not only face masks but also clothing such as lab coats, potentially offering a new way to monitor health care workers' exposure to a variety of pathogens or other threats.

"We have demonstrated that we can freeze-dry a broad range of synthetic biology sensors to detect viral or bacterial nucleic acids, as well as toxic chemicals, including nerve toxins," said James Collins, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

"We envision that this platform could enable next-generation wearable biosensors for first responders, health care personnel, and military personnel," Collins, the senior author of the study, said.

The face mask sensors are designed so that they can be activated by the wearer when they are ready to perform the test, and the results are only displayed on the inside of the mask, for the privacy of the user.

As the researchers were finishing up their work on the wearable sensors early in 2020, COVID-19 began spreading around the globe, so they quickly decided to try using their technology to create a diagnostic for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

To produce their diagnostic face mask, the researchers embedded freeze-dried sensors into a paper mask.

These freeze-dried components are surrounded by silicone elastomer, the researchers said.

The sensors are placed on the inside of the mask, so they can detect viral particles in the breath of the person wearing the mask.

The mask also includes a small reservoir of water that is released at the push of a button when the wearer is ready to perform the test.

This hydrates the freeze-dried components of the sensor, which analyses accumulated breath droplets on the inside of the mask and produces a result within 90 minutes.

"This test is as sensitive as the gold standard, highly sensitive PCR tests, but it is as fast as the antigen tests that are used for quick analysis of Covid-19," said Peter Nguyen, a research scientist at Harvard University in the US.

The prototypes have sensors on the inside of the mask to detect a user's status, as well as sensors placed on the outside of garments, to detect exposure from the environment.

The researchers can also swap in sensors for other pathogens, including influenza, Ebola, and Zika, or sensors they have developed to detect organophosphate nerve agents.

"Through these demonstrations we have essentially shrunk down the functionality of state-of-the-art molecular testing facilities into a format compatible with wearable scenarios across a variety of applications," said MIT's Luis Soenksen, a lead author of the research paper.

The researchers have filed for a patent on the technology and they are now hoping to work with a company to further develop the sensors.

The face mask is most likely the first application that could be made available, Collins added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news
BREAKING: Documents reveal alleged Iran cyber attack plans.

BREAKING: Documents reveal alleged Iran cyber attack plans.

Sky News has seen classified documents, allegedly from Iran, revealing secret research into how cyber attacks could be used to cause severe disruption. Sky's foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes has the latest. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel fo...

China's push for 'domination' is fueling meeting with US: Jack Keane.

China's push for 'domination' is fueling meeting with US: Jack Keane.

Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) discusses the tense meeting between U.S. and Chinese officials. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompa...

Cities Issue Air Quality Warnings As Wildfires Rage.

Cities Issue Air Quality Warnings As Wildfires Rage.

Wildfires are burning throughout the west coast resulting in many cities issuing air quality warnings, and new research shows a potential link between wildfire smoke and an increased risk of Covid-19.  » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC vid...

Rockslide Destroys Bridge in Northern India

Rockslide Destroys Bridge in Northern India

Large boulders were seen hurtling down a mountain and smashing through a bridge in northern India, Sunday, July 25. The avalanche killed nine people and seriously injured three more after their vehicle was hit by falling rocks. The rockslide was o...

Trump doubles down on false election claims in Arizona.

Trump doubles down on false election claims in Arizona.

Former President Trump doubled down on his baseless claims surrounding the 2020 election during a rally in Arizona over the weekend. His remarks came on the heels of an Associated Press investigation that identified fewer than 200 cases of potenti...

Live: Biden holds bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister.

Live: Biden holds bilateral meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister.

President Biden participates in a bilateral meeting with His Excellency Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a ...