The non-woven mask features a mouth filter made using ostrich cells. The cells contain antibodies that bind to the deadly virus.
It was developed by research group led by President Yasuhiro Tsukamoto of Kyoto Prefectural University, the Sun reported.
The presence of COVID in exhaled breath is claimed to be detected by shining a fluorescent light on the mask to reveal patches of the virus.
Researchers say the LED light of a smartphone can also be used as a light source to broaden the number of people able to use the innovation.
Ostriches are capable of producing different antibodies that neutralize foreign entities in the body.
These antibodies are extracted from ostrich eggs from birds that have been injected with an inactive, non-threatening form of the coronavirus.
By spraying the antibodies on a filter from a worn mask, the reaction can detect whether COVID-19 is present.
President Tsukamoto and the group experimented over ten days with 32 COVID-19 patients and found that the masks they wore glowed under UV light.
The researchers explain: “The ostrich antibody for corona placed on the mouth filter of the mask captures the coronavirus in coughing, sneezing, and water.
”Next, a fluorescent dye-labeled ostrich antibody is reacted and the virus is visualized by irradiating with light.
“We also succeeded in visualizing the virus antigen on the ostrich antibody-carrying filter when using the LED ultraviolet black light and the LED light of the smartphone as the light source.
“This makes it easy to use on the mask even at home. Visualization of the illness is possible.
“The presence of the virus can also be confirmed from the ostrich antibody-carrying mask used by a person infected with the new coronavirus for eight hours.”
A patent application has been filed for this technology, and there are plans to commercialize inspection kits and sell them in Japan and overseas, possibly by this year.