Ten years ago, when firefighter John Burke received a master's degree in health care emergency management, he wrote a thesis on pandemic planning. So, when the coronavirus hit last spring, Burke, now chief of the fire department in Sandwich, Massachusetts, was ready. "I have prepared the script," Burke said. Testing for the virus is a top priority, so he established contact with a private laboratory to ensure that firefighters who transport coronavirus patients to the hospital can get regular tests. Registered for the "Morning News" of the "New York Times", and then he heard that Thermo Fisher Scientific of Massachusetts, which produces laboratory equipment and materials, is conducting a Beta test on the air sampler, which can help him detect the coronary in the air. Virus particles. By December, he had installed one in the corridor of the fire station. The device is about the size of an oven, is sucked into the surrounding air, and traps airborne virus particles (if any) in a special cartridge. Every afternoon, an employee will take out the ink cartridges, then take them to the UPS drop box across the street, and then send them to the laboratory for analysis. A month ago, air samplers had found traces of this virus. Officials eventually traced it back to a town employee who had been working at the station during a quiet holiday and had no masks. This is a proof of concept for Thermo Fisher Scientific’s AerosolSense sampler, which was publicly available on Wednesday. The company said the device can be used to detect a variety of airborne pathogens, including coronaviruses. As society begins to reopen, it can be deployed in hospitals, offices, schools, and other buildings to monitor signs of the virus. AerosolSense, priced at $4,995, is not the first air sampler capable of capturing the coronavirus. In the past year, scientists have also used several other models to study pathogens. Experts say, but the new device seems to be simpler and easier to use. Linsey Marr, an airborne virus expert at Virginia Tech, said: "I'm not sure there is any other easy-to-use thing on the market." "This will allow almost anyone to collect air samples." Thermo Fisher Scientific may face competition. This epidemic has aroused people's attention in the field of disease surveillance, that is, extracting pathogens from the air. Experts in the field say they are overwhelmed by phone calls and emails from companies, organizations and other laboratories interested in developing or using coronavirus-collecting air samplers. (Marr is negotiating with a company (her name cannot be disclosed) to develop an air sampler that can monitor viruses in public places.) In November, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency started Solicit research suggestions on the development of coronaviruses. -Detect air sensor. John Lednicky, a virologist at the University of Florida, said: "People have a lot of interest." Experts say this method has real potential. They added, but this also brings logistical problems, which must be carefully deployed and clearly understood what the technology can and cannot do. Air samplers have been widely used to detect various pollutants. But it is much more difficult to catch the airborne virus. The virus aerosol is very small, accounting for only a small part of the debris floating in the air. "You are looking for needles in the haystack of needles in a haystack," Mar said. This means that most air samplers need to inhale a lot of air to catch a small amount of virus. Even so, they may not be able to catch low-level viruses. Experts say that this technology is advancing, but it is still complicated and labor-intensive. Ledniki said: "There are few places where this can be done appropriately with the knowledge, equipment and virological capabilities." The AerosolSense sampler is designed to be easy to use. The device draws air into the collection tube and directs it to a replaceable cylindrical cartridge. The cartridge is about the size of a 10 milliliter syringe and contains a proprietary foamy substance that traps virus particles. After a few hours or more, the ink cartridge can be pulled out of the machine and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Technicians can use PCR (polymerase chain reaction technology) as the basis for the COVID-19 gold standard test to determine whether there is genetic material from the coronavirus. Thermo Fisher Scientific said that if the cartridge needs to be shipped to a third-party laboratory, it may take a day or two to receive the results, but hospitals, universities, and nursing homes with laboratories on site can process the cartridge within a few hours . The company also conducted a "preliminary feasibility test" through a rapid PCR test, which can return results within 30 minutes. (The test was done by Mesa Biotech, which was recently acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific.) A series of studies-conducted in airtight boxes, 9-foot 14-foot rooms and wards for COVID-19 patients-recommended biology at the University of Oregon And the head of the Built Environment Center, Kevin Vanden Wemmelenberg, said that the AerosolSense sampler can catch the coronavirus even if the air content is low. He said: “We believe it is sensitive enough to be used in real-life environments with COVID-positive individuals.” Thermo Fisher Scientific also tried out the sampler at the COVID-19 field hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. The hospital deploys these devices in patient care areas where the virus is expected to be found and in staff lounges where the virus is not found. "Our cold area is really cold," said Dr. John Brauch, an emergency physician at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and medical director of the field hospital. "Moreover, our hot zone is heavily polluted, which is to be expected." Thermo Fisher Scientific will focus on hospitals in the first phase of the launch. He said that other medical institutions can use samplers to ensure that their COVID protocol is valid and that the virus does not come out of the ward. "We see facilities asking whether their schedules and pre-screening activities are effective?" said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. "Are their cleaning and ventilation procedures adequate? So, can I make my patients feel confident that they will visit the facility?" said Alex Huffman, an aerosol scientist at the University of Denver, and of course, testing for the virus in the wards of COVID-19 patients It’s the same thing: “This is another step in entering an environment that may still have a lower concentration, monitoring it in a classroom or a medical clinic, and you don’t know if anyone will feel positive.” Burke said that an air sampler is not a panacea. Even after he installs the air sampler, make sure his firefighters continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing and conduct regular COVID tests. "It can't be like a smoke detector in the house you are in, for example,'I am going to own the machine, I will not do anything else, and when something goes wrong, it will notify me,'" he said. Currently, there is no truly autonomous virus sampler, and humans still need to remove and analyze samples. This takes time and means that the results provided by these samplers are not real-time snapshots, but comprehensive portraits of buildings from the first two, twelve, or twenty-four hours. Although PCR analysis can reveal whether the genetic material of the coronavirus is present, it cannot distinguish between intact, infectious virus and non-dangerous virus fragments. Marr said that none of these drawbacks is a dealbreaker. He pointed out that it is still useful to know whether airborne coronavirus particles have recently been in space. She said: "If they detect it in the air, then it may have just been emitted." "And I'm willing to bet there is some kind of infectious virus." The results need to be explained carefully. A negative result does not mean that there is no virus, but that the air sampler did not collect any virus. Christine Coleman, a bioaerosol expert at the Duke National University School of Medicine in Singapore, said: “The possibility of false negatives is high because the virus concentration in the air is extremely low.” Figuring out how to react to a positive sample may be even more difficult. Tricky. Van Den Wymelenberg said: "I think the answer is not just to evacuate the building." Instead, he thought of a more measurable response-from increasing ventilation rates to conducting strategic testing and tracking-organizations can be able to detect signs of the virus. use. However, it may be difficult to convince office staff to temporarily increase ventilation to ensure the safety of entering the office where the virus was found. Even these modest measures may raise concerns about privacy and legal liability. Van Den Wymelenberg said: "Throughout the pandemic, I have been discussing indoor environmental monitoring issues with several large building owners, how the issue will be used, and being responsible for any improper use of information." (Burke ensures Explicitly use the air sampler with the local union, he said, "100% support".) Another method might be to use air sampling for large-scale surveillance. If public health authorities detect a surge in virus levels in a certain area or area, it may be an early warning signal that a large number of new COVID-19 cases are about to emerge-officials need to strengthen testing and contact tracing. Hoffman said that easy-to-obtain, user-friendly air samplers could also enable more scientists to study virus aerosols. "In the medium to long term, I think technologies like this will play a huge role in continuing to promote the development of knowledge in these areas so that we can make better decisions to help other viral aerosols, such as influenza and other influenza. Popularity followed," he said. "This is not to say that it is useless now, but I think that as we continue to deepen the future, its real impact may be even greater." This article was originally published in the "New York Times". ©2021 The New York Times Company
Erin is a sports fan who likes to participate in football matches occasionally. She is an enthusiastic journalist and knows nothing about English. She currently caters to her skills in the sports and health section of Report Door.
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