Since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, emphasis is on frequent and mass testing for early detection of the virus in the community. To date, there are two common methods used to determine if someone has been infected with the virus; the PCR swab test known for its reliability and accuracy, and the RTK-Antigen test kit known for its convenience and affordability.
With the constant mutation and increased agility of the virus in surviving what humans have to throw at it, scientists and researchers are experimenting ways for faster detection of the deadly virus. These researchers in Japan might have discovered a new, more convenient, and efficient way of COVID-19 testing!
Researchers from a Japanese university use ostrich antibodies to make COVID-19 detection face masks that glow
A team of researchers led by Yasuhiro Tsukamoto at the Kyoto Prefectural University have discovered that the antibodies of ostriches help with the detection of COVID-19 viruses. These brilliant researchers have innovated a mask covered in said antibodies. When shined under ultraviolet rays, areas of the mask polluted by the virus will glow, indicating that the individual that the mask belongs to is COVID positive.
Source: Reuters (Website)
According to Reuters, the discovery made by the Japanese researchers was based on the foundation of past research that birds have strong resistance to viruses. The centerpiece of these new COVID-19 detection face masks lies in their filters that are coated with the antibodies of ostriches. The discovery was made with the aim of reducing the cost of COVID-19 tests and making them accessible to everyone.
The mask glows when coming into contact with COVID-19
The Guardian reports that the new innovation was tried and tested on several test subjects. The masks were removed and sprayed on with a layer of chemical that glows under ultraviolet light after being worn for eight long hours. Areas of the mask filter coated in ostrich cells contaminated by the virus glow when it comes into contact with ultraviolet rays.
Source: The Guardian (Website)
Even Tsukamoto tried and tested the ostrich mask out for himself! He was first alerted that he may have been infected with the virus before he went for a standard test which came back positive, after seeing that some spots on his mask filter were glowing under ultraviolet light. Moving forward Tsukamoto and his team is working hard to create face masks that have the ability to glow even without ultraviolet lights, with the help of automated technology.
In the meantime, remember to test regularly with COVID-19 test kits that are readily available at your nearby pharmacies and adhere to COVID measures when out and about. Kudos to the team in Japan for their impactful finding! The world thanks you for your innovation, as we fight the new COVID variant – the Omicron.
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