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Using Facemasks for Detection of Covid-19


Using Facemasks  for Detection  of  Covid-19


Can a facemask be used as a  Biosensor ?  How it would be  if  a facemask, 

after being used  for   some time would be able to detect Covid-19 virus ?  

Very interesting,  isn’t  it ?  Rest assured,  now it is a reality,  thanks to the 

recent research by Dr. Peter Nguyen &  Dr. Luis R. Soenksen  at  the 

MIT/Harvard Laboratory where,  as interviewed  by  Mrs. Emily Henderson, 

they had been trying to bring advanced biological circuits  outside  the  

laboratory in a miniature form,  to develop   a wearable  like a facemask

which would contain biosensors for detection of  Covid-19 ;



To identify various physiological signals of a human body we use various 

kinds of sensors like pulse oxi-meter,  pressure machine, recently innovated 

Apple watch etc.

However, in contrast to such various electronic, mechanical or optical 

sensors, biosensors  use specially engineered genetic circuits to create  a 

sensor  & detector for a desired molecular target through biology ;  It was 

observed that biosensors are especially  suited  for pathogen & toxin 

detection, as they are  most able  to directly interact  with these molecular 

components to give the desired results ; 


Research  summary  in very simple  words

During the research,   biosensors  were  attached to standard K95 facemask to 

help in the  detection of  the virus which,  as the researchers said,  took little 

time to give the  desired  results ;  The sensors could be activated  by pressing 

a button  & the results were reflected with a readout strip in a span of ninety 

minutes ;  The accuracy of the test  was the same as that of  a standard  

Rt-PCR test which  is conducted to detect Covid-19 ;

As per Mr. N. Guyen, the co-author of the study, they  had brought a whole 

laboratory into  a  small  sensor that would work with any mask ;  He also 

added  that the technology  has brought together the accuracy of the PCR test 

which is  accepted  globally  as the  standard test for detecting  Covid -19 ;



It is very convenient -  As we normally wear a facemask  for a considerable

period of  time,  why not perform a test while we are wearing the same ?


 It is inexpensive – As per report, the prototype Covid-19 diagnostic costs 

 USD 5.00,  excluding the cost of the mask itself ;  Just think, at this cost 

you get  an all- in-one disposable facemask while performing the  Covid -19 

detection test  which is as accurate as a standard  Rt-PCR test ; However, 

along with the mass  production this cost is likely to decrease ;


 It is non-invasive – It is able to detect the virus from the user’s breadth  only ;

 The longer the breadth capture, the more sample will be available for the

 biological analysis ;


 No instrumentation & minimal user operation -  The sensor is fully integrated

  into the material, and  the user needs only to  press a button  to activate the

  detection test ;  There are no instruments or power needed ;


  It runs at room temperature -  Though it sounds simple but was hard to

  achieve ; However, all the reactions are able to work at room temperature, 

  thus  dispensing  with any heating process etc., as required in a  Rt-PCR test ;   

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