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

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

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

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.

Also Read: COVID Warrior: Chennai Based Artist Designs ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Auto’ To Create Awareness About Vaccination

“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, Mr 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.

Also Read: No Scientific Data So Far To Show Delta Plus Variant Adversely Impacts Vaccine Efficacy: COVID Task Force Chief V K Paul

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.

Also Read: Delta Plus Variant Has More Affinity For Lung Tissues Than Other COVID-19 Strains: Central Panel Chief

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,70,55,138Cases
18,97,86,461Active
3,25,98,424Recovered
46,70,253Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,70,55,138 and 46,70,253 have died; 18,97,86,461 are active cases and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 5:36 am.

India

3,33,81,728 34,403Cases
3,39,0563,867Active
3,25,98,424 37,950Recovered
4,44,248 320Deaths
In India, there are 3,33,81,728 confirmed cases including 4,44,248 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,39,056 and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,11,525 3,595

52,893 310

63,20,310 3,240

1,38,322 45

Kerala

44,46,228 22,182

1,86,754 4,559

42,36,309 26,563

23,165 178

Karnataka

29,65,191 1,108

16,202 282

29,11,434 808

37,555 18

Tamil Nadu

26,40,361 1,693

16,756 120

25,88,334 1,548

35,271 25

Andhra Pradesh

20,34,786 1,367

14,708 105

20,06,034 1,248

14,044 14

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,628 23

193 11

16,86,549 11

22,886 1

West Bengal

15,59,567 707

8,025 25

15,32,922 725

18,620 7

Delhi

14,38,373 28

409 5

14,12,880 22

25,084 1

Odisha

10,18,298 580

5,335 105

10,04,845 681

8,118 4

Chhattisgarh

10,04,988 31

352 2

9,91,077 29

13,559

Rajasthan

9,54,230 4

103 1

9,45,173 5

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,677 22

149 0

8,15,446 22

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,374 7

119 5

7,81,738 12

10,517

Haryana

7,70,697 9

327 8

7,60,562 17

9,808

Bihar

7,25,864 12

72 6

7,16,134 6

9,658

Telangana

6,62,785 259

5,282 43

6,53,603 301

3,900 1

Punjab

6,01,180 30

314 11

5,84,399 38

16,467 3

Assam

5,97,074 468

5,381 15

5,85,914 479

5,779 4

Jharkhand

3,48,102 6

102 8

3,42,867 14

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,330 20

284 12

3,35,657 32

7,389

Jammu And Kashmir

3,27,466 170

1,421 72

3,21,630 98

4,415

Himachal Pradesh

2,16,430 127

1,568 82

2,11,215 206

3,647 3

Goa

1,75,183 95

699 1

1,71,195 96

3,289

Puducherry

1,25,170 107

963 63

1,22,380 42

1,827 2

Manipur

1,17,913 216

2,614 7

1,13,478 219

1,821 4

Tripura

83,787 31

427 26

82,553 56

807 1

Meghalaya

78,958 229

1,804 140

75,784 86

1,370 3

Mizoram

76,591 1,121

13,888 85

62,449 1,202

254 4

Chandigarh

65,168 4

31 2

64,319 2

818

Arunachal Pradesh

53,990 47

536 9

53,183 56

271

Sikkim

30,802 64

775 28

29,648 36

379

Nagaland

30,763 32

505 14

29,610 44

648 2

Ladakh

20,631 6

41 1

20,383 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

5 0

10,661

4

Lakshadweep

10,353

4 0

10,298

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,595 3

15 2

7,451 1

129

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