The researchers overcome this obstacle by employing a technique known as a wet cyclone, which can sample the equivalent of 176 cubic feet of air in 5 minutes (2). When the virus is discovered, a light on the gadget switches from green to red, indicating that more air circulation is required, according to the researchers.
The device, which is only 10 inches tall and 1 foot broad, is a proof of concept. The technology would then be implemented into a prototype to see how a commercial or residential design could be achieved. The researchers believe the device might be used in hospitals and schools, as well as detect other respiratory viruses including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.
Currently Used COVID-19 Detection Methods
Current methods for identifying viruses in the air require between one to twenty-four hours to collect and analyze samples. Existing approaches typically necessitate skilled labor, resulting in a procedure that does not allow for real-time information that could translate into minimizing danger or spreading the virus, according to the researchers.
The team tested their gadget in both laboratory tests in which they discharged aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 into a room-sized chamber and in the dwellings of two COVID-positive persons.
“There is nothing at the moment that tells us how safe a room is,” Washington University neurology professor John Cirrito, Ph.D., in a statement. “If you are in a room with 100 people, you don’t want to find out 5 days later whether you could be sick or not. 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.”
The researchers’ goal is to create a commercially available air quality sensor.
- Nature Communications: “Real-time environmental surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 aerosols.”
- Washington University in St. Louis: “Air monitor can detect COVID-19 virus variants in about 5 minutes.
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