There’s a new tool in the fight against the coronavirus: high-tech bubbles that can detect the presence of the COVID-19-causing virus in the air.
The bubbles, developed by a team of engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are outfitted with sensors that can detect the unique genetic signature of the virus. The system is designed to be placed in public spaces like hospitals, airports, and office buildings to continuously monitor the air for the virus.
If the system detects the virus, it can trigger an alarm to alert people in the area to take precautions. The bubbles can also help researchers track the spread of the virus and understand how it travels through the air.
The system is still in the early stages of development and needs to be further tested. But the team is hopeful that it could be a valuable tool in the fight against the pandemic.
“We think this is a potentially very powerful technology for detecting COVID-19 in the environment and helping us to better understand how the virus spreads,” said co-author Michael Sacks, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois. “It could also help us to identify hot spots of virus activity and take steps to prevent further spread.”
The bubbles are made of a polymer that is coated with a special antibody that can bind to the COVID-19 virus. The antibody is attached to a unique sensing molecule that produces a light signal when it binds to the virus.
The signal is then detected by a sensitive camera, which is connected to a computer that analyzes the data. The system is designed to be highly sensitive, and the team is working to further improve its accuracy.
The system is still in the early stages of development, but the team is hopeful that it could be a valuable tool in the fight against the pandemic.
“This technology is at the proof-of-concept stage, but we are working hard to further improve its sensitivity and specificity,” said co-author Ruogang Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois. “We are also working on miniaturizing the system so that it can be easily deployed in public spaces.”
The team is also working on a portable version of the system that could be used in settings like hospitals and nursing homes.
The system is not yet available for commercial use, but the team is working with a startup to commercialize the technology.
According to research published in the journal Nature, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can remain airborne for hours, and can be detected with high-tech bubbles.
The research was conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, who used a method called “bubble-CPMA” to detect the virus in air samples.
The team found that the virus can remain suspended in the air for hours, and that it is infectious at lower concentrations than previously thought.
This is significant because it means that the virus could be spread through the air, rather than just through close contact with infected people.
The team’s findings highlight the need for improved ventilation in indoor spaces, and for people to wear masks in public, even when they are not feeling sick.
This research provides further evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is highly contagious and that it is important to take precautions to prevent its spread.