According to MIT, the masks, which are still in prototype phase, integrate sensors that allow the detection of several viruses, including the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19.

In a first phase, the sensors were developed for the diagnosis of the Ebola virus, with a recent study concluding that they can be used not only in face masks, but also in other personal protective equipment, such as medical gowns, allowing to monitor the exposure of healthcare workers to pathogenic threats.

"We anticipate that this platform could enable biosensors for emergency, medical and military personnel," advanced James Collins, professor of medical engineering and science at MIT.

According to the research, released in a paper published in the scientific journal Nature Biotechonoloy, the face mask's sensors are designed so that they can be activated by those wearing this equipment, with the results being displayed only on the inside to ensure privacy.

The development of these sensor masks results from a technology that has been refined in recent years, but with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the researchers adapted them for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.

In practice, sensors are placed on the inside of the mask to allow the detection of viral particles in the wearer, analysing, when triggered, the breath droplets accumulated inside and producing a result in about 90 minutes, MIT announced.

"This test is as sensitive as PCR tests, but it is as fast as antigen tests that are used for rapid screening for Covid-19," said Peter Nguyen, a Harvard University researcher, who said that a patent for this technology has already been applied for.