Light & Verity

Finding COVID in the air

A Yale-invented wearable clip can help high-risk workers stay safe.

Krystal Pollitt

Krystal Pollitt

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A new invention by a Yale professor can give crucial information about exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. The Fresh Air Clip (right) is a small, wearable device with a polymer film that collects aerosols and droplets; after it is worn in an indoor setting for a day or more, the device can be tested for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus—or for any other airborne virus. The device was recently tested locally by workers in restaurants and a homeless shelter.

The inventor is Krystal Pollitt, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health and an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering. She says the device can provide useful data not only for individuals, but also for institutions, which can use it to determine if they need to adjust their COVID-19 infection control protocols. It may eventually be available publicly, but for now Pollitt says they’re focusing on meeting requests from communities that need it. “There’s been a flood of interest from groups that are interested in wearing it,” she says, “from health-care providers to teachers to transplant recipients.”

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