Forget Covid-19 test, this clip-on gadget will tell if YOU were EXPOSED to coronavirus

A coin-sized clip-on tracker, called Fresh Air Clip, developed by researchers can detect COVID-19 virus exposure immediately.

| Updated on: Jan 22 2022, 10:30 IST
Fresh Air Clip
Fresh Air Clip can measure exposure to COVID-19 virus. (Yale School of Public Health)
Fresh Air Clip
Fresh Air Clip can measure exposure to COVID-19 virus. (Yale School of Public Health)

COVID-19 hasn't gone and with new variants of the virus emerging from all around the world, it is likely to stay for a while. To fight the infection, researchers at Yale School of Public Health have come up with a small wearable tracker, called Fresh Air Clip. What does it do? It can assess exposure to COVID-19 virus in the air around you.

In layman's English, this coin-sized tracker can tell you whether you are exposed to the COVID-19 virus; and if so, then by how much!

Now hang on! It is not available to the public yet but its creators say that trackers is a low-cost product and does not need its own power source. And, the its creator wants to make it public someday. Early tests have proven that it can estimate roughly the airborne virus concentration you are exposed to.

COVID-19 virus tracker is wearable, does not need battery

“With this clip we can detect low levels of virus that are well below the estimated SARS-CoV-2 infectious dose,” Godri Pollitt said. “The Fresh Air clip serves to identify exposure events early, alerting people to get tested or quarantine. The clip is intended to help prevent viral spread, which can occur when people do not have this kind of early detection of exposure.” Politt, who created the Fresh Air Clip tracker, is an assistant professor of epidemiology (Environmental Health Sciences) at YSPH and an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale.

The tracker captures virus-laden aerosols that settle on a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) surface inside it. Testers can then use this sample to check whether you were exposed to COVID virus and if so, what was the amount of exposure. It does not tell you your exposure in real-time though; it is more of a screening tool that can tell you how much exposure you got in a day. A PCR test needs to be done with the samples the tracker collected.

But it works effectively. The researchers distributed the Fresh Air Clips to 62 volunteers for five days. A PCR test detected the SARS-CoV-2 RNA in five of the clips. Four of these were worn by restaurant workers and one by a homeless shelter person.

It is said that the Fresh Air Clip can serve as a screening tool for personal exposure to the coronavirus and even identify high-risk areas where the exposure to virus could be high.

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First Published Date: 22 Jan, 10:30 IST