Scientists have used ostrich cells to create a face mask that glows in the dark when it detects Covid-19.
It was developed by a research group led by President Yasuhiro Tsukamoto of Kyoto’s Prefectural University in Japan.
The scientists claim that the masks can detect the presence of coronavirus in exhaled breath by shining a fluorescent light on the mask to reveal patches of the virus, The Sun reports.
They add that the LED light from a smartphone can also be used as a light source, meaning that a wider range of people can use the new invention.
Ostrich cells were used because the birds are capable of producing different antibodies that neutralise foreign entities in the body.
These antibodies are extracted from eggs coming from ostriches that have been injected with an inactive, non-threatening form of Covid.
Spraying the antibodies on a filter from a worn mask detects whether coronavirus is present or not.
The scientists experimented over a period of 10 days with 32 Covid patients and found that the masks they wore glowed under UV light.
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They said: "The ostrich antibody for corona placed on the mouth filter of the mask captures the coronavirus in coughing, sneezing, and water.
''Next, a fluorescent dye-labelled ostrich antibody is reacted and the virus is visualised by irradiating with light.
"We also succeeded in visualising the virus antigen on the ostrich antibody-carrying filter when using the LED ultraviolet black light and the LED light of the smartphone as the light source.
"This makes it easy to use on the mask even at home. Visualisation of the illness is possible.
"The presence of the virus can also be confirmed from the ostrich antibody-carrying mask used by a person infected with the new coronavirus for eight hours."
There are plans to commercialise the product and sell them around the world even by as soon as the end of the year, with a patent application having already been filed.
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