Russian Researchers Create Virus Detector

  • Trigger-BIO has already passed all the testing in the laboratory setting.
  • It detects not only the Covid-19, but also any viruses, bacteria, and even bacterial toxins that are loaded into its memory.
  • By absorbing ultraviolet photons, these molecules emit their own radiation.

Russian researchers  have created a device that instantly detects dangerous viruses and bacteria in the air, even if there are very few of them. A compact detector will help you determine whether it is safe to be in a room or vehicle. This innovation is relevant given the Coronavirus pandemic around the world.

Coronavirus illustration

Currently, there are over 32 million infected and over 990,000 deaths around the globe. Furthermore, the most reliable way to avoid infection is to maintain proper hygiene, wear a mask and isolation, but this is not always possible.

Many have returned to their jobs, and children have gone back to kindergartens and schools, It is hard to keep distance in the public transit. However, it is especially inconvenient that one does not  know, if there is a person in the room who is spreading coronavirus or other viruses around.

Is it safe or not to enter a particular office, or car, or store at this moment? There is no answer, and we always have to be wary just in case. Many people get so tired of this that they start ignoring precautions, which eventually leads to the infection spread.

Israel had to go back to the quarantine measures. Moscow implemented voluntary stay at home protocols starting Monday again. There is  a grave concern of the Coronavirus second wave.

The new device can solve this problem. Moreover, it detects not only the Covid-19, but also any viruses, bacteria, and even bacterial toxins that are loaded into its memory. The Trigger-BIO detector was developed by the researchers  from the national nuclear research University MEPhI.

“The device performs spectral analysis of the sample by pumping air through the analytical path and exciting it by emitting LEDs with wavelengths of 280 and 365 nanometers,” explains MEPhI employee Gennady Kotkovsky. The interview was given to the Ria Novosti.

The length of ultraviolet waves emitted by LEDs is not chosen by chance. Such rays are absorbed by two substances that are contained in any bacteria and viral particles: tryptophan and nicotinamide adenine nucleotide.

By absorbing ultraviolet photons, these molecules emit their own radiation.  However, for each type of bacteria and viruses, these spectral “signatures” are individual, like fingerprints. Therefore, a virus or microbe can be identified by the radiation it emits.

National Research Nuclear University MEPhI Moscow Engineering Physics Institute is one of the most recognized technical universities in Russia.

The system analyzes radiation in three wavelength ranges at once, determining the individual “signature” of the pathogen. Then it compares it to the “signatures” that are stored in its memory. This is how the device recognizes a specific bacteria or virus.

This is the first detector of this kind in Russia that counts even single photons emitted by “signal” substances. This and other technical solutions make the device more sensitive than any analogs. Trigger-BIO detects the pathogen even if its concentration is 10-20 particles per liter of air.

At the same time, 27 liters of air are pumped through the device per minute.  However, taking into account how far viruses spread from a sick person, Trigger-BIO can provide monitoring of the safety of premises in almost real time.

Another advantage of the device is that it is several times more compact and lighter than its counterparts. The detector itself weighs under 12 lb.  There is a cordless option of the device as well

The Trigger-BIO has already passed all the testing in the laboratory setting. Now experts are moving to its trial operation and to the development of a database of pathogens that it will recognize.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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