Well-Being Medical Advances

Scientists use ostrich cells to make COVID test that glows in the dark

(AP/Chitose Suzuki)

Story at a glance

  • Japanese researchers at Kyoto Prefectural University have created a mask that glows in the dark if COVID-19 is detected in a person’s breath.
  • The masks are coated with a mixture that contains Ostrich antibodies.
  • Researchers at the university had previously discovered the bird has impressive immunity power.

Japanese researchers have created masks that glow in the dark when COVID-19 is detected in your breath.  

The masks are covered in a coating with ostrich antibodies that glow under ultraviolet light if they detect the virus, according to Reuters. 

Veterinary professor Yasurio Tsukamoto along with his team of researchers at Kyoto Prefectural University made the discovery after some of their earlier research found the bird had a “strong resistance to the disease,” according to The Guardian. Tsukamoto has studied the birds for years and has “looked for ways to adapt their immunity power to fight bird flu, allergies and other diseases,” according to Reuters. 


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According to The Guardian, in a small study, participants wore the masks for eight hours after which researchers removed the mask filters and sprayed them with a chemical that glows under ultraviolet light if the virus is present. The publication added that the filters worn by test subjects infected with COVID-19 glowed around the nose and mouth areas.

Researchers hope that they can refine the masks so that they can glow without special lighting if the virus is present in the wearer, according to Reuters.


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