Scientists developing color-changing test strip to stick on face masks and detect COVID-19

SAN DIEGO - Researchers at the University of California San Diego are creating a test that could quickly detect COVID-19 using droplets from a person’s face mask.

The strip attaches to a face mask as a sticker and then collects droplets from the person’s breath, changing color depending on results. Researchers said it’s very similar to a home pregnancy test. 

"Think of this as a surveillance approach, similar to having a smoke detector in your house," Professor and Lead Principal Investigator Jesse Jokerst said. "This would just sit in the background every day and if it gets triggered, then you know there’s a problem and that’s when you would look into it with more sophisticated testing,"

The idea is that as the person breathes through the mask, particles will accumulate on the test strip. At the end of the day or during a face mask change, the person can run the test using a substance that makes the strip change colors.