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Sensor to Spot SARS-CoV-2 Exposure

A sensor that can be clipped to a shirt collar can tell users whether they were in an area with high levels of SARS-CoV-2, the New Haven Register reports.

It adds that the Fresh Air Clip, which was developed by Yale School of Public Health researchers is a passive sensor — rather than an alarm — in which a polymer film collects samples from the air for PCR analysis. As the team reports in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, they gave sensors to people to wear at different spots in New Haven for five days. Eight percent of the clips tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and the researchers report they were able to detect samples with six or more copies of viral RNA.

They in particular found high viral loads in sensors worn by restaurant servers, which they note could be because patrons were not required to wear masks while eating. At the same time, they did not detect any positive samples for sensors worn in healthcare settings, which the researchers say could be due to the use of personal protective equipment there.

Yale's Krystal Pollitt tells the Register that the sensors could be used in work settings as well as by consumers.