Japanese Researchers Create A Mask That Glows When It Comes Into Contact With The Coronavirus

The idea behind wearing a mask when you’re sick or in general is that it’s meant to protect you and the people around you. This is because viruses like the coronavirus infect people through droplets in the air like when you sneeze, cough, or talk. Wearing a mask helps to prevent those droplets from escaping your mouth and nose, and also prevents it from entering your mouth and nose if it comes from someone else.

However, how do you know if your mask is effective? Have you been in contact with someone that might have the coronavirus? That would be hard to tell, but researchers over in Kyoto University have developed a filter made out of ostrich antibodies that when placed under UV light will glow if it shows that it has come into contact with the coronavirus.

How they made this was the scientists first injected an ostrich with a spike protein of the virus (don’t worry, apparently ostriches are highly-resistant to the disease) before extracting antibodies from the yolk of the birds’ eggs. They then bound it to the filters in the mask using polylactic acid.

So what is the point of such a mask? According to lead researcher Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, “If virus infection can be detected by putting a mouth filter carrying an ostrich antibody in a ‘disposable mask’ that is used every day in the world, non-symptomatic infected people such as super spreaders can be voluntarily treated at an early stage.”

We’re not sure if there are plans to actually start making and selling these filters, but Tsukamoto says that he hopes that this technique could be applied to other viruses as well, meaning that once this pandemic passes, it could still have use in the real world.

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