A team at the Kyoto Prefectural University, headed by its president Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, has developed a mask that offers users an easy and cost-effective way to test for COVID-19.
In February of 2022, the team injected a dormant and benign form of coronavirus into female ostriches and extracted antibodies from the eggs that they laid. Those antibodies were then integrated into a fluorescent dye. When the dye is sprayed onto a specially developed mask filter, the fabric will glow green to indicate the presence of coronavirus exposure.
The team has conducted initial tests with 32 people infected with coronavirus in which all the masks worn glowed under the UV light, fading over time as the viral potency decreased. President Tsukamoto himself found he was positive for COVID-19 when wearing one of the experimental masks in which he confirmed with a traditional COVID-19 PCR test. The team will soon expand the experiment sample size to 150 participants and aims to acquire government approval to sell the masks by next year.
“We can mass-produce antibodies from ostriches at a low cost. In the future, I want to make this into an easy testing kit that anyone can use,” said Tsukamoto.