Uerj develops a device that detects coronaviruses in real time in the environment


To ensure environments free from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) are working on a time detector covid virus . In the current phase, the team validates prototypes of the machine — named CoronaTrap — in schools and in environments where the behavior of the infectious agent is still poorly studied.

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    Researches for CoronaTrap started at the beginning of the covid pandemic-19 and are led by Professor Heitor Evangelista, from the Laboratory of Radioecology and Global Change (Laramg) of the Department of Biophysics and Biometrics at UERJ. The idea is that the device will be able to capture and measure the viral load in different environments, based on the detection of coronavirus particles.

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    “The new phase will be dedicated to real-time virus determination, ie measuring in situ, without having to take the sample to the laboratory”, explains Evangelista. “Produced on a large scale, this technology has the potential to revolutionize studies on contagion and help fight various diseases”, he bets.

    How does the coronavirus detector work?

    To identify the presence (or not) of the infectious agent, the machine collects air samples and conserves the virus in a dark environment, acclimatized by Peltier cells — the same ones used for refrigeration of electronic components. In this way, the coronavirus is “trapped” in a dark chamber that prevents direct contact with light.

    According to the researchers, this prevents its deterioration due to temperature, solar radiation or moisture in the air. This issue is important because the virus is sensitive to environmental factors and, many times, it could degrade even before being analyzed, generating a false negative.

    After the step of validation, the CoronaTrap equipment can be used in hospitals, schools and restaurants, for example. “Only through monitoring can combat be carried out. To defeat an enemy, it is necessary to know him and these systems are fundamental instruments”, comments the researcher about the new technology, which can be adapted to other infectious agents.

  • Beyond the SARS-CoV-2, CoronaTrap could potentially collect other viruses, bacteria and fungi, also contributing to the monitoring of different pathologies, such as tuberculosis. “It’s an interesting legacy of our project. We have a technology very different from what is on the market, totally at low cost and developed by UERJ”, completes Evangelista.

    To improve the technology, the project has financing from the Second Emergency Call for Projects to Combat the Effects of covid-19, launched by the Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Faperj).

    Below, check out a video of the coronavirus detector in operation, made by the researchers themselves:

    Source: Uerj

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