Based on the recent article published in Nature Biotechnology (DOI:10.1038/s41587-021-00950-3), researchers at MIT and Harvard Universities have designed a new face mask which can detect the Covid-19 infection within about 90 min. This face mask is embedded with tiny sensors which is also able to detect other viruses.
The mask is based on freeze-dried cellular machinery that was used previously in paper diagnostic for Ebola and Zika viruses. Interestingly, this technology can also incorporate into other cloth to protect the people's exposure to the variety of pathogens.
The mask includes sensors into interior side of it to detect particles in the breath of the person who wear it and for user privacy, the results are shown inside of the mask.
The research is based on Collins’s study in 2014. His researches illustrated that proteins and nucleic acids needed for producing a synthetic gel network which react with specific target molecules can be embedded into a paper So used this ability to produce diagnostic papers for Ebola and Zika viruses. In this especial technology the cell-free circuit components are freeze-dried and remain stable for some months, until they are rehydrated. After water activation, they interact with RNA, DNA or other target molecules and send signals like changing in color.
Scientists have used variety of fibers including cotton, polyester, wool and silk to choose the best fiber in terms of comfort and compatibility with sensors. They ended up selected a combination of polyester and other synthetic fibers.