Facemasks in congregate settings prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and help control the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic because face coverings can arrest transmission of respiratory droplets. While many groups have studied face coverings as personal protective equipment, these respiratory droplets can also serve as a diagnostic fluid to report on health state; surprisingly, studies of face coverings from this perspective are quite limited.
Researchers from UC San Diego developed a technology to measure the concentration and distribution of aerosolized saliva (via α-amylase levels) captured on various face coverings. The technology is a sticker than accumulates enzymes or proteases and then detects them via a color change. This uses a sticker on a face mask for monitoring of disease.
Face coverings are promising platforms for biofluid collection and colorimetric biosensing, which bode well for developing surveillance tools for airborne diseases.
Patent-pending technology available for commercialization. Please contact UC San Diego for licensing terms.