Japanese researchers use ostrich cells to create mask that glows if Covid positive

WION Web Team
Tokyo, Japan Published: Dec 11, 2021, 01:00 PM(IST)

Yasuhiro Tsukamoto poses with an ostrich egg. He has used ostrich antibody to develop a mask to fight Covid. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Upon shining the light, the filters that had been worn by Covid positive people, showed glowing element around the nose and mouth surface

Since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2019 December, scientists have been trying to develop vaccines and other instruments that can help fight off Covid. Now, Japanese researchers have developed masks that can detect the virus under ultraviolet light.

Yasuhiro Tsukamoto and his team at Kyoto Prefectural University in western Japan have developed a mask coated with ostrich antibodies. Previous researches have proven that ostriches have strong resistance against this virus.

Also read | Two Covid doses not very effective against Omicron variant, UK experts claim

The researchers asked some test subjects to wear masks which was coated with ostrich antibodies. After wearing the mask for eight hours, the masks were handed over to the researchers who then removed the filters. It was then sprayed with a chemical that glows under the ultraviolet light if the virus is present on the surface.

Upon shining the light, the filters that had been worn by Covid positive people, showed glowing element around the nose and mouth surface.

These masks were first tried by Tsukamoto himself. He discovered that he has been infected by the deadly coronavirus after he spotted the same glowing elements in the ostrich antibody-covered mask that he was wearing. To confirm his fear, he went through a standard test which came back as positive for COVID-19.

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Now, his team is hoping to develop masks of advanced technology that can glow automatically even without special lighting, if the masks have virus particles on the surface.

Till then, the researchers are labelling these masks as one of the low-cost ways of testing coronavirus at home.

This comes at a time when the world is trying to fight a growing new variant of coronavirus — Omicron. Experts have claimed that the new variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant but causes less severe disease than the previously dominant variant.

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