In a first for virus detection, the company Opteev this week launched a plug-in airborne virus detector known as ViraWarn to scan for COVID-19, flu, and other virus particles in the air indoors and then warn those who might be affected.
Meant as prevention rather than confirmation of infection, ViraWarn utilizes biosensing technology to screen the air in a given space and alert occupants when coronaviruses are detected. In this way, it’s not so different from a smoke or carbon monoxide detector. It’s specifically aimed at those businesses, schools, and others looking to return to pre-pandemic in-person operations. Early warning would allow them to evacuate the spaces in question and disinfect affected areas.
“With more people dying from COVID-19 in the first six months of 2021 than all of 2020, it’s clear that the pandemic is far from behind us,” Conrad Bessemer, chairman and co-founder of Opteev, said. “Less than half of Americans are fully vaccinated, and dangerous COVID-19 variants have been identified. New procedures and technologies are needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 this year while allowing people to enjoy their lives. Opteev’s mission is to deliver personal health safety in a world where we’re less tolerant of behaviors that promote virus transmission but also eager to get back into the classroom, office, or other indoor settings. ViraWarn delivers peace of mind while helping keep groups safe.”
For its warning system, ViraWarn scans specifically for the unique electrochemistry of spiked protein viruses, like COVID-19 and influenza, and sucks up small quantities of air for analysis. They are activated when plugged into electrical sockets and provide blanket screening of entire rooms. If triggered, an LED light activates, and an audible alert signal is issued as a warning. The device also has mobile app accessibility.
It was tested in lab settings, as well as real-world use cases, and comes in two different versions. The X model is a lightweight and compact plug-in device, while the XL is a heavier standalone device with its own, larger media chamber to allow for longer periods between swapping cartridges. The initial run of both will be prioritized for distribution to schools, hospitals, and senior communities.