University’s ESH Team Deploys Portable Detector on Campus to Protect Students, Faculty and Staff from Virus Exposure
Smiths Detection, a global leader in threat detection and security screening technologies, today announces that its BioFlash® Biological Identifier has been successfully used by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to identify airborne COVID-19 inside their campus buildings .
As part of their mitigation strategy for COVID-19, UMBC’s Environmental Safety and Health (ESH) team have been using BioFlash across the campus. In one instance, the airborne detector was deployed to help the campus community safely re-enter a research facility after a person working there tested positive.
After multiple tests performed on the BioFlash ruled-out the presence of airborne SARS-CoV-2, the ESH team deemed the facility contamination-free, allowing staff and students to safely return and research to continue without significant pause.
In a separate instance, in a collaborative effort with the UMBC Sports Medicine Department, a test conducted in a team locker room resulted in a positive environmental detection on the BioFlash. This detection ultimately led UMBC to test all people present for COVID-19, identifying three infected individuals. This helped prevent further spread of the virus.
“We are delighted to see what we believe is a world-first for our technology. BioFlash, with its real-time results capability, has been used by UMBC in a real-world setting to successfully confirm the presence or absence of COVID-19 in the air and inform health and safety protocols,” said Smiths Detection President Roland Carter. “We have been working incredibly hard to provide a tool that will support the ongoing fight against COVID-19, and these applications demonstrate the role BioFlash can play in virus mitigation strategies.”
“The BioFlash system has helped us to prevent the spread of the virus in our on-campus community. We are also pleased that this tool to protect the health and safety of people on our campus is easy to use and environmentally friendly,” said Lynne Schaefer, UMBC Vice President for Administration and Finance. “We will be using this solution as part of a larger mitigation strategy, alongside other important tools like sanitation, masks, regular testing, physical distancing, and symptom monitoring.”
BioFlash works by collecting and analysing air samples using sensitive, selective and rapid detection technology to identify the presence of dangerous pathogens onsite without the need to involve a laboratory. Following successful internal testing, Smiths Detection has been engaged in various external studies to further verify the SARS-CoV-2 detection capability, including working with the USAMRIID, which verified that BioFlash could identify SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting.
The BioFlash Biological Identifier is available now.
About BioFlash Biological Identifier
The BioFlash® Biological Identifier is a bio-aerosol collection and identification system that provides rapid, sensitive and specific identification of various pathogens including viruses including Ebola, toxins and bacteria.
Test results from University of Oregon position BioFlash as a commercial environmental monitoring solution for SARS-CoV-2
Smiths Detection, a global leader in threat detection and security screening technologies, confirms its BioFlash® Biological Identifier is capable of detecting airborne COVID-19 following tests conducted by the University of Oregon, positioning the technology as an effective environmental monitoring tool for use in indoor public spaces.
The University of Oregon tests were performed in quarantine and isolation spaces known to have individuals who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19). The BioFlash identified aerosolised virus, at the detectable range generated via human shedding, in rooms where the presence of SARS-CoV-2 was also detected by environmental swabs. The BioFlash technology allows for onsite confirmation of these results in under three minutes.
“These test results verify the accuracy and reliability of the BioFlash in a real-world setting,” said Roland Carter, President, Smiths Detection. “An effective monitoring tool such as the BioFlash can contribute to creating a COVID-secure environment indoors, in places such as hospitals, schools and commercial buildings, as well as provide invaluable data for better understanding the behaviour of this virus. We will continue to explore the capabilities of this technology with a view to informing COVID-19 mitigation strategies.”
The product is available immediately in the US and arrangements for a global roll out currently underway.
About BioFlash Biological Identifier
The BioFlash® Biological Identifier is powered by CANARY® technology (a cell-based biosensor) and is combined with proprietary aerosol-collection techniques to provide rapid, sensitive and specific identification of biological-threat agents including viruses, toxins and bacteria.
CANARY® is a tested and proven method of pathogen threat detection, providing users with an unprecedented level of speed and sensitivity in both commercial and defence applications. Originally developed by MIT, CANARY technology allows the detection of a wide range of pathogens including bacteria, viruses and toxins.
CANARY breaks though the limitations of current laboratory-based biological testing methods allowing detection capabilities to be conducted on-site or at the place of operation. It combines the sensitivity of PCR with the speed of Lateral Flow, allowing users to accurately test for tiny amounts of pathogen in minutes. The method requires very few materials, time, and minimal scientific expertise.
CANARY uses a genetically engineered immune cell called a “biosensor” to identify and bind to a specific target. When a pathogen is found, a reaction starts causing the biosensor to luminesce. By measuring light output from the cell, we can tell if the target biological is present in the sample.
How does our CANARY® technology detect COVID-19 in the air? Read our white paper to find out.
CANARY in the field
CANARY is currently deployed for applications in Biodefense, Food Safety, Agriculture and Emerging disease. Here’s how CANARY can help you:
BIODEFENCE / MAIL SCREENING
EARLY WARNING · HEALTHY EMPLOYEES
- First line of defence against biological threat.
- Screening mail & buildings for pathogens keeps your employees safe.
- Detectable pathogens include: Ricin and Anthrax
SAVE MONEY · HEALTHY CUSTOMERS · AVOID RECALLS
- Avoid costly recall that can damage your reputation.
- Make sure you’re not getting pathogens from a supplier.
- Better monitor your plant hygiene and sanitation.
- Detectable pathogens include: Listeria
MINIMISE CROP LOSS · SAVE MONEY
- Know if your plants are sick before they start to show symptoms.
- Control imports and exports.
- Reduce pesticides / fungicide use by knowing when to spray.
EASE OF USE
No complicated extractions or scientific expertise needed. Once your sample is prepared, tests results can be generated in 3-5 minutes, giving you the timely results you need.
Imagine the biosensor as a cell covered in light bulbs with a switch. With other technologies, when a single pathogen is present the switch turns on one light bulb. With CANARY, the switch turns on all the light bulbs. This amplification of signal makes CANARY incredibly sensitive.
If a pathogen is present, it only takes seconds for the Biosensor to bind and luminesce, giving you results in under 5 minutes.