The air monitor that can detect COVID-19 in just 5 minutes

Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have built an air sensory system capable of detecting any of the known COVID variants that may be inside a room in real-time, according to a July 10 news release. 

The air monitoring system was developed using aerosol sampling technology and a biosensing technique that takes only about five minutes to return results.

A conceptual study, published in Nature, found that it demonstrated between 77 and 83 percent sensitivity. Enough for researchers to determine that the monitor "is suited for point-of-need surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants in indoor environments and can be adapted for multiplexed detection of other respiratory pathogens of interest." 

"If you are in a room with 100 people, you don’t want to find out five days later whether you could be sick or not," John Cirrito, PhD, professor of neurology at the university and one of the study's authors, said in the release. "The idea with this device is that you can know essentially in real time, or every 5 minutes, if there is a live virus in the air."

Adoption of the technology could help public health officials better manage infection control and spread, the research team believes.


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