Yale team develops ‘air clip’ to detect new coronavirus, which can be used for early identification


Since the beginning of 2020, the whole world has been involved in the "storm" brought about by the new crown pneumonia virus. Although more and more people have been vaccinated and everyone's awareness of epidemic prevention has improved, the spread of the virus is diverse, and it is possible It is spread by aerosols, so it is still not immune to the risk of infection.

▲ Picture from: Oriental Net

Moreover, once someone is found to be infected, in addition to isolating them and carrying out corresponding treatment, a large number of epidemiological investigations are also required to identify those who may be infected and stifle the spread of the virus in the cradle. While there are now multiple ways to determine if a person is infected, when and how they were exposed to the virus is more of a guesswork out of the findings.

▲ Picture from: Xinhua News Agency

So to give people a clearer picture of whether their environment is at risk of infection and fill a gap in the investigative process, Yale engineers have developed a new wearable device.

This kind of air clip called "Fresh Air Clip" is not expensive. It can be clipped on a person's collar and capture aerosol virus particles in the surrounding environment. After a period of time, the wearer removed the clip and sent it to the lab, where the researchers used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis to determine whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was present on the device.

▲ Picture from: Yale Daily News

Of the 62 volunteers who wore the Fresh Air Clip for up to five days in multiple tests to determine whether the device could effectively capture airborne virus particles, five tested positive, indicating that the five Volunteers had been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The study found that of the five volunteers wearing the air clips, four were restaurant waiters and one was a homeless shelter worker. And two positive samples collected at restaurants with indoor dining had higher viral loads than other samples, suggesting the wearer had been in close contact with one or more infected individuals.

▲ Picture from: Phoenix Network

In addition, the researchers also pointed out that the sensitivity of the device is high enough to capture exposure events of subinfectious doses (subinfection means infected with a disease pathogen but not yet showing symptoms of the disease, that is, asymptomatic), indicating that Fresh The Air Clip not only measures exposure to the virus, but also the level of exposure.

It is worth mentioning that researchers also found traces of SARS-CoV-2 in hospital wards that are considered to be well ventilated, indicating that the Fresh Air Clip may have a "hidden skill": testing the effectiveness of ventilation devices in positive patient wards .

Judging from the current research results, the Fresh Air Clip can be used as one of the ways to determine whether the indoor environment is a high-risk area of ​​virus exposure, helping people to actively determine whether they are likely to be infected with the virus, so as to quickly take actions such as detection and isolation to prevent Community spread occurs.

▲Picture from: Hainan Provincial Health Promotion and Education Center

The researchers say an important next step in the study of the Fresh Air Clip is to develop the ability to notify virus exposure in real time, just as some devices can notify the wearer of their exposure to gamma or X-rays.

The "storm" brought about by the new coronavirus does not know how long it will last. It is naturally the key to report the results quickly in the prevention and control process, but for everyone, it is more important to take personal protection seriously.

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