Will this Small Device Make Your Flight Safer?

Will this Small Device Make Your Flight Safer?

airport security - photo illus. airport by Pixabay

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Flights for business or vacation destinations are almost back to normal in the post-pandemic world. Yet passengers are still worried about being infected in COVID-19 while staying in the aircraft.

A ceiling-mounted Covid “alarm” that can detect anyone infected in as little as 15 minutes has been developed by British scientists. The highly-accurate device, slightly larger than a smoke alarm, can be deployed in aircraft cabins, classrooms, and offices.

Early studies by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University have shown the device has an accuracy of 98-100%, making is as reliable as gold-standard PCR lab-based Covid-19 tests and considerably more so than quick lateral flow tests.

Made by Roboscientific, the device works by detecting chemicals produced by the skin or present in the breath of those infected with coronavirus. These “volatile organic compounds” create odour too subtle to be sniffed by the human nose. A study by the Covid alarm’s research team showed they could be detected by dogs, but the alarm would be more accurate and more practical.

The Sunday Times said the detectors could find people with the virus even if they were yet to show symptoms, making it more effective than PCR tests, which have been found inadequate for asymptomatic carriers. The results are sent instantly to a mobile phone or computer, according to standard.co.uk.

The researchers have stressed their results are at an early stage, with their work published in a paper that is yet to be peer-reviewed.