LATEST! Chinese Researchers Develop New Face Mask That Detects And Identifies Type Of Respiratory Viruses In Proximity And Alerts User!
COVID-19 Medical Devices
: Researchers and scientists from The Institute for Biomedical Engineering & Nano Science at Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai-China have developed a new face mask that detects the specific type of respiratory virus that is in close proximity and in surrounding environment and alerts the user via a smartphone app. The new face masks are capable of identifying a huge variety of respiratory viruses including the various influenza strains, rhinoviruses, enteroviruses, coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2, respiratory syncytial virus, etc.
According to the development team, developing wearable electronics capable of detecting viruses directly from airborne media is crucial for rapidly diagnosing respiratory infectious diseases. However, wearable sensor platforms for analyzing airborne media remain underexplored.
The COVID-19 Medical Devices
team developed a wearable bioelectronic mask device integrated with ion-gated transistors that are developed for testing viral proteins. A stretchable ionic gel synthesized by a two-solvent system works as a dielectric layer for the ion-gated transistors. The device can detect trace liquid samples and gaseous media samples. Advantages of low detection limit (0.1 fg/mL), rapid response (10 min), and multi-channel analysis make the bioelectronic mask a versatile detection platform for various respiratory infectious diseases. The integration of internet of things technology facilitates real-time on-site detection of surrounding air. This wearable bioelectronic mask is expected to serve as an early warning system to prevent outbreaks of respiratory infectious diseases.
The development team has also conducted a study to test the efficacy of this medical device and study was published in the peer reviewed journal: Cell.
The bioelectronic mask includes aptamers, which are short sequences of DNA or RNA that can bind to protein targets. When viral particles bind to the aptamers, ion-gated transistors boost the signal so that the mask can sensitively detect small amounts of virus. The mask sends a message to the wearer’s smartphone within 10 minutes of detecting the virus. The technology could be very valuable for healthcare staff or vulnerable patients who are at high risk of severe disease.
Protective face masks have been a cornerstone in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The simple and effective barrier function such masks fulfill has doubtless helped to limit the spread of SARS CoV 2.
The development team explored the options if such masks could do much more, providing us with an early warning system that viral contamination is in the air.
Corresponding author, Yin Fang, a professor at the Research Center for Translational Medicine, Shanghai East Hospital affiliated to Tongji University, The Institute for Biomedical Engineering & Nano Science told Thailand Medical News
, “Past research has shown face mask wearing can reduce the risk of spreading and contracting the disease. So, we wanted to create a mask that can detect the presence of virus in the air and alert the wearer.”
The development team created just that. Their novel mask does not just detect SARS CoV 2, but it can also identify two different strains of influenza (H5N1, and H1N1) and also a wide range of other respiratory viruses,
With the southern hemisphere experiencing a significant resurgence of flu this year, after two years without much flu activity, such technologies could be helpful for vulnerable patients who could experience serious complications if they were to contract flu or COVID-19.
The bioelectronic mask relies on aptamers, which are synthetic molecules made using DNA or RNA, but which function somewhat like antibodies, binding specific molecules such as proteins. The aptamers in the mask are specific for SARS CoV 2 and other viruses. If such viral particles are present in the air around the mask wearer, they will bind to the aptamers in the mask. Ion-gated transistors present in the mask sensor then help to boost this signal, allowing the mask to take highly sensitive measurements.
Subsequently, the mask will then send a signal to the wearer’s smartphone within 10 minutes to alert them to the presence of viral particles. The researchers are working on reducing this time, to help make the system as quick and useful as possible.
The development team is also working on ways so ta the mask can also detect various SARS-CoV-2 variants and sub-line ages as well.
The team is working with Chinese conglomerate to make the mask commercially available by late-October 2022 in most markets.
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