The wFDCF masks are equipped with a small, disposable sensor that can be attached to other common masks. The sensor is also capable of detecting many other viruses.
Dr. Luis Soenksen, Wyss Institute, Harvard University, co-lead author of the study, said: “We built a mask to detect COVID-19 based on two interesting technologies. One is a fast and flexible lineage immunoassay, the second is a sensitive and accurate nucleic acid recognition called SHERLOCK.”
The wFDCF mask is said to be a miniature laboratory COVID-19 test kit. The sensors are based on the freeze-dried cell operation that the team previously developed for the detection of Ebola or Zika viruses.
Dr Peter Nguyen, Wyss Institute, Harvard University, co-lead author of the study, said: “We call these wearable lyophilized cell-free platforms. It’s based on a cell-free biosynthesis that we’ve freeze-dried and attached to flexible materials and fabrics. The system works in modules. We can easily recognize different threats like environmental toxins or different pathogens.”
The research team has integrated this technology into the mask to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the breath of the wearer. The mask is activated with a button that gives results within 90 minutes with a high level of accuracy, comparable to nucleic acid COVID-19 tests.