A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a wearable biosensor technology that can help face masks detect COVID-19 in your breath.

According to the researchers, the biosensors were attached to standard KN95 face masks to help in the detection of the virus, which the team said happened quickly.

The team has integrated this technology into standard face masks to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in a patient’s breath.

The team has found a way to embed synthetic biology reactions into fabrics, creating wearable biosensors that can be customized to detect pathogens and toxins and alert the wearer.

The sensors can be activated by the users with a button and results are reflected with a readout strip in a span of 90 minutes.

How It Works

The user wears the mask for 15-30 seconds, then they push a button that activates a small disposable sensor embedded in the mask.

This sensor then produces a visual result in a readout strip which is either positive or negative in about 90 minutes.

The accuracy levels of the biosensor are being touted to be the same as the RT-PCR tests being conducted for COVID-19.

“In addition to face masks, our programmable biosensors can be integrated into other garments to provide on-the-go detection of dangerous substances, including viruses, bacteria, toxins, and chemical agents,” Nguyen said in a statement.

The integration of these programmable biosensors into fabrics could help detect a range of medical issues including harmful diseases, viruses, bacteria, toxins, chemical agents, and other exposures on the go.

The team is now looking for manufacturing partners who can produce these masks in large numbers so that they are made available during the pandemic, researchers said.

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