Device developed in Brazil that detects the presence of coronavirus in the environment - Plataforma Media

Device developed in Brazil that detects the presence of coronavirus in the environment

Brazilian scientists have developed a low-cost device that can detect the viral load of the new coronavirus in the environment, official sources said on Monday.

Named Coronatrack, the portable individual device was created by the teams of the Laboratory of Radioecology and Global Changes (Laramg), of the Department of Biophysics and Biometrics of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Uerj).

According to Uerj, the prototype cost 200 reais (US $ 36), while a similar imported model costs 4 thousand reais (US $ 737).

According to the researcher at Laramg and also a professor of biophysics, Heitor Evangelista, the device will enable the user to monitor the viral load in the places where he usually circulates.

“He has a mini air pump, which you put in a box attached to your belt. It is connected to a hose that is attached to your collar, badge or pocket. At that end, the system captures the virus and, when the pump is turned on, it will suck in the air around it, ”he explained.

According to Evangelista, the system is similar to that used in mining, to monitor dust particles in the air. “We made some modifications to this equipment to be more efficient against the virus. The virus is linked to the particles in the air, it is not free, it attaches itself to the particles that were already in the air and people inhale everything together ”.

The objective of the device, according to Evangelista, is to map the concentration of the virus in the city, using samples of places and routes.

“This system has a GPS, so it places the georeferenced path, then I will measure that filter and I will know the viral load of that path. If you have 200 of these devices, we can map the city of Rio de Janeiro, and with that, you can know in which areas there is a higher viral load in the air than in other places and, thus, see if you need to monitor more there, take more measures ”, he explained.

For the professor, the device can also be used to circumvent the problem of underreporting cases of COVID-19, giving scientists and authorities more insight into where the disease may have a greater incidence.

“Underreporting is because you can’t measure people individually. With this system, instead of measuring people individually, you monitor an area. This can shed more light on this issue, ”added Evangelista.

The professor also highlighted the possibility of monitoring viral load in closed public and private environments. “This equipment can be used in any circumstance where there is a worker or a user in an environment where several people circulate. A store, a gym, if you open a cinema, a school, anywhere. All of this can be done because it is portable and individual ”.

According to Evangelista, Coronatrack proved to be efficient in the first tests and the intention now is to expand production and register its patent.

Este artigo está disponível em: Português

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