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Posted: 30 June 2021
As the new variants are indicating the need for daily testing in environments such as schools and care homes indefinitely, the good news is that the Roboscientific Covid Air Monitor will provide a reliable non-invasive test for groups of people.
Trials of the sensors were recently completed in collaboration led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with Durham University and Medical Detection Dogs as part of a wider study to test the efficacy of dogs. Results were impressive – with the Roboscientific proprietary sensor technology achieving results even better than the established ‘gold standard’ PCR test. First trials delivered results that replicate the performance of Roboscientific’s technology in agricultural applications – 98-100% specificity (meaning a low risk of false positive results) and 99-100% sensitivity (meaning a low risk of false negative results).
The Covid Air Monitor will automatically sample and test the air in a room for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and compare them against the digital fingerprint of the coronavirus. If this is sensed, then it will indicate the presence of someone who is currently infected with the disease in the room. The test result is delivered in real time, avoiding the inevitable delays and need for self-isolation and track and trace.
VOCs are created by organic bodies. They make the smells which we all recognise – and which, in the case of diseases like Covid-19, result from the metabolic changes that the virus cause. Each disease creates its own pattern of VOCs, which is recognised by the Roboscientific proprietary sensor technology as its digital fingerprint.
When the presence of a person carrying the disease is identified, the Monitor will notify a designated person via SMS or Wi-Fi so that individual testing and quarantining can take place immediately, with no interruption to people outside of the room.
The Monitor allows automatic daily testing without any disruption to the school day, or additional demands to the workload of school staff. The higher accuracy should also help to avoid onward transmission from asymptomatic cases, which are as easily recognised as symptomatic cases.
The aim is to have production units available in the UK by the beginning of 2022.