NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Researchers at Yale University have developed a small clip that detects whether you have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Darryl Angel demonstrated the process of analyzing a sample from a small device called the “Fresh Air Clip.” The Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s Department of Environmental Engineering is part of a team that has been studying the sampler created by Krystal Pollitt, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and a Yale assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering.
“This, if it’s deployed among different settings, can ideally ultimately lead to a conclusion as to … which might be higher risk settings,” Angel said.
Post-doctoral associate Dong Gao at the Yale School of Public Health said the clip was originally developed a few years ago to measure pollutants in the air, but when the pandemic started, its innovators quickly realized they could also use it to measure particles of COVID-19.
“It’s really small and lightweight so everybody can carry it,” Gao said.
They conducted a study of people wearing the clip in congregate settings such as healthcare facilities, homeless shelters, and restaurants.
“Sixty-two of these Fresh Air Clips were returned and analyzed, five of which came back positive for SARS-CoV-2, predominantly among restaurant settings,” Angel said.
A film inside the clip collects the particles and it can take as little as a day to get your results.
“We can use PCR methods in our droplet reader to detect levels of SARS-CoV-2 and figure out what concentrations they’re at,” Angel said.
Right now, researchers are still studying the clip, but the hope is to make it available to the public in the future.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and small particles containing the virus.
“These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth,” the CDC states. “In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch.”
The CDC recommends wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth and social distancing since people within 6 feet of the infected person are most likely to get infected.