It sounds like science fiction, but it’s actually science fact. A team of researchers is developing a face mask that doesn’t just prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It actually lights up when it’s in the presence of the virus.
Lighting the Way to Better Health
If this reminds you of Bilbo Baggins’ sword that glowed when it was near orcs or the light sabers that Star Wars made famous, it’s for good reason. This mask actually changes to a fluorescent color when it picks up the presence of the virus on a person’s sneeze droplets.
The project began years before the pandemic. A team of bioengineers and medical researchers from Harvard and MIT joined forces back then to create a mask that would signal the presence of the Ebola and Zika viruses. Today, they’re turning their efforts toward developing a signaling mask for COVID-19.
Many Potential Uses
Jim Collins is the lead researcher on the project. He told Business Insider that the mask is only in the early stages, but it has enormous potential. Its main benefit would be to identify people who are carrying the disease but don’t know it.
“As we open up our transit system, you could envision it being used in airports as we go through security, as we wait to get on a plane,” Collins said. “You or I could use it on the way to and from work. Hospitals could use it for patients as they come in or wait in the waiting room as a pre-screen of who’s infected.”
Creativity and Crisis
The ongoing pandemic has led to some creative solutions to public health problems.
A medical team at the University of Kentucky is working on a face mask that would actually kill the coronavirus on contact. If you could combine both features in one mask, you’d never have to worry.
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