A new mask has been developed by scientists that glows under ultraviolet light and uses the ostrich antibodies of the ostrich to detect Covid-19.
This innovation may allow for low-cost virus testing at home.
The non-woven mask features a filter coated with ostrich antibodies targeting Covid, based on the idea that previous research has shown the birds have strong resistance to disease.
These antibodies were extracted from the eggs of ostriches that had been injected with an inactive, non-threatening form of the coronavirus, as antibodies transfer to the offspring through the yolk.
They also form far more quickly in ostriches — in just six weeks compared to 12 in chickens — and are nearly 24 times bigger, allowing more room for them to form.
Innovation: Scientists have developed a new face mask (pictured) that uses ostrich antibodies to detect Covid-19 by glowing under ultraviolet light
The non-woven mask features a filter coated with ostrich antibodies targeting Covid. If the mask is worn by people infected with Covid it glows around the nose and mouth (pictured)
The antibodies were extracted from the eggs of ostriches that had been injected with an inactive, non-threatening form of the coronavirus. It was part of a small study led by Yasuhiro Tsukamoto (pictured) and his team at Kyoto Prefectural University in western Japan
Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, his group at Kyoto Prefectural University (western Japan) conducted an experiment where participants were required to wear the masks for 8 hours. Then the chemical was applied that emits ultraviolet light and glows if Covid is present.
Researchers found that the viruses were visible around the mouth and nose of those who had worn them.
The LED light from a smartphone’s camera could be used to detect viruses, and this would increase the number of people who are able to wear the mask.
Researchers hope to develop masks that glow automatically without the need for special lighting.
Tsukamoto said that initial testing is much quicker and more direct than a PCR test. He’s also a university president and a professor of veterinary medicine.
The test could be used to detect carriers without symptoms, which may include those who feel well but aren’t able or willing to get tested.
Tsukamoto, his colleagues and 32 Covid-19 subjects experimented for ten consecutive days.
The researchers stated, “The coronavirus can be captured in coughing, sneezing and water by placing the ostrich antibody to corona on the mask’s mouth filter.”
Next, an ostrich-labeled fluorescent dye is used to react the virus and it is visualized by using light.
“We were also able to visualize the virus-carrying antibody on the ostrich using both the ultraviolet light from the phone and the flash light from the iPhone.
“This makes it simple to put on the mask even when you are not at home.” It is possible to visualize the disease.
According to experts, the presence of the virus could also be verified by using an ostrich-carrying antigen mask that has been worn for at least eight hours by someone infected.
In the study, participants wore the masks for eight hours before the filters were removed
The chemical was then applied to the skin.
People infected by Covid used face filters that glowed around their noses and mouths.
The LED light from a smartphone, researchers discovered, could also detect the virus. That would make it much easier for people who are able to use the facial mask.
Tsukamoto revealed to the Kyodo news agency that he found out that he was suffering from Covid when he wore one of the masks.
For over two decades, he has been studying ostriches. Looking for ways to increase their immunity to battle bird flu and allergies.
Tsukamoto previously designed masks for the detection of swine influenza.
The patent application for special masks has been filed. Plans are in place to market inspection kits, as well as sell them overseas and in Japan within the next one year.
Tsukamoto’s team has yet to test the mask filters on large scales or obtain the approval of the government for mass production.
The masks’ cost has not been disclosed.