Innovative Face Mask Detects COVID-19 | AIChE

Innovative Face Mask Detects COVID-19


At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), engineers have created a face mask that can detect COVID-19 within 90 min of being worn. The technology uses a biosensor that can be added onto any face mask, but works best with the N95 mask.

The sensor is based on clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) biotechnology, which can be used to detect genetic components of viruses. In this case, the MIT sensor detects nucleic acids native to SARS-CoV-2.

“At the core of our research, we use cell-free synthetic biology reactions, which are self-contained abiotic and bioinspired chemical systems with all the molecular components required from live cells to perform their own biomolecule sensing,” says Luis R. Soenske, a researcher at MIT. “Such systems can be engineered, modularized, and freeze-dried into shelf-stable formats utilizing porous substrates, which allow for robust distribution, storage, and use without specialized environmental or biocontainment requirements.”

The sensor itself is made of...

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