Sticker can test COVID-19 risk; warn of contact through mask

Face mask
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jan 23, 2021

SAN DIEGO, California — Researchers at the University of California San Diego are developing a simple way to test for COVID-19 risk.

The technology comes in the form of a sticker placed on the outside of your mask. The sticker looks for the presence of a specific COVID-19 protease in people's breath.

As someone wears the sticker on the mask throughout the day, it collects droplets. At the end of the day, you click a little blister pack, and if it changes color, that means that you might have been exposed to the virus.
The test uses a technique called "colorimetric detection," similar to home-pregnancy test indicators.

"If everyone had this sticker available and could test every day and it would more quickly stem these outbreaks and more quickly direct you need better testing," said associate professor Jesse Jokerst.

Researchers say that once the pandemic ends, these tests could still assess the risk of diseases like SARS and MERS.