July 7, 2022

Japan’s Kyoto Prefectural University team of scientists have announced to develop masks that glow when exposed to ultraviolet light if they contain traces of the coronavirus. The mask in particular uses antibodies extracted from ostrich eggs.

The team is being lead by 52 year old, Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, the university’s president, with hopes that the masks will offer users an easy way to test whether they have contracted the virus.

According to the team of scientists, it will continue to test the masks to put them into practical use, whilst also aiming to gain government’s approval to sell them possibly next year.

It was mentioned that team chose ostriches as they are capable of producing several different kinds of antibody, or proteins that neutralize foreign entities in the body.

The team had conducted an experiment in February last year where it injected an inactive and non-threatening form of the coronavirus into female ostriches. Simultaneously it reported the test to be successful in extracting a large quantity of antibodies from the eggs that they laid.

About the making of the mask –

• The team then developed a special filter that is placed inside the face mask.
• The particular filter can later be taken out and sprayed with fluorescent dyes that contain the coronavirus antibodies with the help of the ostrich eggs.
• The filter will glow in case the virus is present when shone under an ultraviolet light.
• The team of scientists had reportedly conducted a series of experiments over the course of up to 10 days with 32 people infected with the coronavirus.
• The experiment showed that all the infected masks glowed under the UV light, which faded after due time and the viral load also to decrease.

According to university president Tsukamoto, the team next aims to expand the experiment to cover 150 participants. He mentioned to detect COVID-19 positive himself after wearing one of the experimental masks and finding it glowed when checked. He had then confirmed his status with a polymerase chain reaction test.

As of Tuesday midnight, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government recorded 19 new COVID-19 cases in the capital, after reporting seven the previous day.

The country’s health minister mentioned in preparation for a possible resurgence of the coronavirus they have boosted its medical capacity in order to admit 37,000 patients at hospitals, up 30 percent from this summer.