Scientists from Japan have said that ostrich antibodies allowed them to design glowing masks, which help to tell if a person has contracted the coronavirus.
The unusual detection method was developed by a team from the Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyodo News reported.
Researchers injected ostriches with an inactive and non-threatening form of the coronavirus, and extracted antibodies from the eggs they laid.
They then sprayed fluorescent dye with antibodies onto a special filter that is placed inside the mask. The filter glows under UV light when the virus is present.
After monitoring 32 infected people for 10 days, researchers saw that all the masks they wore were glowing, with the glow fading over time as their viral load decreased.
The university president and the project’s leader, Yasuhiro Tsukamoto, was quoted as saying that he himself found out that he had Covid-19 after wearing one of the experimental masks.
Tsukamoto’s team plans to expand the experiment to 150 participants and receive the government’s approval to sell their masks next year. “We can mass-produce antibodies from ostriches at a low cost. In the future, I want to make this into an easy testing kit that anyone can use,” Tsukamoto said.