Airborne SARS-CoV-2 detection device for indoor use successfully tested

Smiths Detection, a UK-headquartered developer of threat detection and security screening technology, announced this week the success of the BioFlash Biological Identifier in detecting the virus that causes COVID-19 disease in an airborne state. This was proven in testing conducted by the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

The SARS-CoV-2 CANARY biosensor used in the BioFlash device detected and identified the presence of low levels of aerosolized, live SARS-CoV-2 in a Biosafety Level 3 containment area. The CANARY technology is a cell-based biosensor. Using proprietary aerosol-collection techniques, the Identifier can provide rapid, sensitive, and specific identification of biological-threat agents including viruses, toxins, and bacteria.

According to the release: 

  • USAMRIID’s test confirmed detection down to an estimated 6,000 airborne infectious particles of the SARS-CoV-2 virus within a controlled environment
  • 6,000 particles compares favorably to as many as one million particles emitted in a single sneeze by an infected person 
  • The test results also pick up the COVID virus without cross-reactivity with influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Additional testing is underway to reinforce the data on effectiveness and determine strategies for use in indoor settings. No mention is made of projected cost or anticipated release, but it is encouraging news for those of us who want to be back in the Great Indoors, in offices, and traveling. Photo courtesy of Smiths/FTI Consulting.

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