BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Imagine being able to determine if there is COVID-19 in a room before entering. This technology is used at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County.
At UMBC they are going on the offensive in the fight against COVID.
“This was an opportunity for us to use a tool that could help us find and fix problems faster,” said Michael Pound, director of environmental safety and health at UMBC.
This tool, known as BioFlash, allows them to test high-occupancy areas to see if there is COVID in the air.
“It just sucks in air and by the end of the test you will know if the virus is present,” Pound said.
It’s a technology that has been around since the early 1900s. Previously used to detect chemical warfare, it was re-used in the age of COVID-19.
“What we changed is the biosensor and replaced something specific to ricin or anthrax with something specific to bind to the SARS-COV2 virus,” said Warren Mino, executive director of Smiths Detection.
Baltimore-based Smiths Detection developed the BioFlash and has partnered with UMBC for a pilot program.
“It was amazing to learn with them how this can help the university,” said Mino.
It has helped in a number of ways. Earlier this month, they were able to determine the presence of COVID in one of the team’s locker rooms, which resulted in everyone being tested.
“Ae found there were positive results there and we were able to isolate and quarantine them,” Pound said.
They also expect the BioFlash to play a big role as they welcome more students this fall.
The BioFlash machine doesn’t cost the university anything, but the actual test is a different story. Every time they run the machine, the biosensor costs $ 100.