We all know that masks are essential during the COVID-19 period, but not all masks are created equal. Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have developed a face mask that can diagnose the wearer with the coronavirus in about 90 minutes. The technology consists of tiny disposable sensors based on freeze-dried cellular machines that researchers had previously designed for use in paper diagnostics for viruses such as Ebola and Zika.
It works very simply. As soon as the wearer is ready to perform the test, they simply activate the sensors. Then the results are only presented inside the mask to protect the privacy of the wearer. The sensors can also be adjusted to fit clothing such as lab coats and adapted to detect other viruses as well.
“We have demonstrated that we can lyophilize a wide range of synthetic biological sensors to detect viral or bacterial nucleic acids, as well as toxic chemicals, including nerve toxins. We anticipate that this platform could enable next-generation portable biosensors for first responders, medical personnel and military personnel, ”James Collins, Termeer professor of medical engineering and science at the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) of MIT and the Department of Biological Engineering and the lead author of the study said in A declaration.