New face masks could detect if you have Covid – changing colour if you're infected

FACE masks could detect Covid while you’re wearing them.

Scientists have managed to pack fabric with sensors which change colour when the virus is breathed out.

They claim the face covering would be as accurate as a lab test but take less than 90 minutes to give a result.

The use of face masks and coverings are currently a legal requirement in different business sectors across the UK.

You have to wear a face mask on public transport and in shops, but some people are exempt.

Harvard University scientist Dr Peter Nguyen said: “We have essentially shrunk an entire diagnostic laboratory down into a small sensor that works with any face mask.

“It combines the high accuracy of PCR tests with the speed and low cost of antigen tests.”

He said the visible colour change could also tell you when and where you caught the virus.


The mask is made with enzymes that react to chemicals in the Covid virus.

It is switched on with a button and stays normal until the virus gets into the mask and reacts with the enzymes, triggering part of it to change colour.

Dr Nguyen and his team said the mask would change colour on the inside for privacy.

He added: “In addition to face masks, our biosensors can be integrated into other garments to provide on-the-go detection.”

Only lab prototypes have been made so far, and the team hope to find a manufacturer to mass-produce the face coverings.

The team highlighted that their technology could be incorporated into lab coats for scientists working with hazardous materials or pathogens.

They also said they could be used in scrubs for doctors and nurses, or the uniforms of first responders and military personnel who could be exposed to dangerous pathogens or toxins, such as nerve gas.

The experts concluded that they are currently looking to team up with manufacturers who can mass produce the masks for both Covid-19 and other areas of society.

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