By wearing the mask for 6 hours, a person may accumulate 5,400 times more virus than the amount collected in a throat swab specimen. Together, 540,000 times higher virus concentration could be achieved, which is equivalent to 19 cycles in a typical PCR amplification process - the same level as current state-of-art detection schemes for COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 is used here as an example for the possible application of the invention. Over 50% of COVID-19 patients have delayed or no symptoms while they are spreading the virus. Both healthy and symptomless people could easily conduct self-tests at home if there are at-home detection kits. Face masks have become mandatory personal protection equipment (PPE) around the world, and are widely accepted to stop the spread of COVID-19.
These face masks could also be adapted to collect and accumulate cancer markers from each breath. With the right choice of nanofiber materials, the marker concentration can be dramatically increased to allow at home detection for preliminary self-diagnostics.
This technique can also be used for daily home testing to monitor a particular disease condition prior to conducting detailed tests in a hospital. Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) is currently used for detection of a variety of health-related conditions, including blood alcohol, multiple cancers, and diabetes.