Amongst various ways to combat the spread of COVID, Yale researchers have come up with an air sampler clip that can help assess if a person has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The researchers aim at its usage in high-risk settings like healthcare facilities and restaurants for the workers there.
"The Fresh Air Clip is a wearable device that can be used to assess exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the air," said the clip's creator Krystal Godri Pollitt, an assistant professor of epidemiology (Environmental Health Sciences) at Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), as stated on YSPH's website reporting the research.
"With this clip, we can detect low levels of virus that are well below the estimated SARS-CoV-2 in the air," Godri Pollitt further said.
The fresh air clip can help identify exposure events in time so that people can get themselves tested or opt for quarantine based on their possible detection of exposure to the virus. Such knowledge in time can help prevent the spread of the virus as people will have an idea about their possible infection at a very stage. After that, they can take measures not to spread it in their homes or work settings.
Earlier Research & Result
Research on air sampling devices was carried out to detect the virus in indoor settings. Given it is a virus that transmits through the inhalation of virus-laden aerosols and respiratory droplets that infected individuals expel by coughing, sneezing, speaking or breathing, these air devices were being experimented with to detect the transmission of the virus in homes. But these monitors proved to be large, expensive, non-portable and electricity-based.
Hence, to work on these challenges, Godri Pollitt and other researchers came up with the fresh air clip. It is small, lightweight, inexpensive and a wearable device that does not require a power source.
Experiments With The Clip
The clips were distributed to 62 volunteers who wore them for five days. The analysis of these clips showed the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in five of them, including four worn by restaurant servers and one by homeless shelter staff. Two clips worn by restaurant servers showed the highest viral loads.
These results indicated that the fresh air clip could be used as a semiquantitative screening tool for assessing personal exposure to the virus and recognizing high-risk areas for indoor exposure, as reported in the study.
Hence, these clips can be made available for larger groups of workers in high-risk jobs, including teachers, apart from healthcare workers and restaurant servers.
Innovative researchers by working scientists and professors have been aiming to reduce the spread of the virus. Regular usage of masks, sanitisers, social distancing and following quarantine measures have been the primary ways to prevent further infections. But such research work helps develop easy and early detection methods to prevent further spread of the virus.
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