Coronavirus is in the air? A Maryland-based company has a detector for that

A company in Baltimore said it has made a machine that alerts people if coronavirus and COVID-19 variants have been detected nearby.

Opteev calls its airborne virus detector “ViraWarn.”

The round screening device is said to work best if placed on the ground, since it analyzes the air around it. If the machine detects coronavirus, it will trigger a red light and an alarm.

The unit can send a text message or an email alert with results too.

Opteev, which called itself a “personal health safety and virus screening technology company,” said its plug-in “ViraWarn” coronavirus detector is “the first ever plug-in screening device for detecting airborne COVID-19 particles in indoor spaces.”

“It’s just like taking a test. You want to know if that room is safe or not. You don’t want to go in that room if it is not safe. You want people to feel good about returning to work, you want people to feel good about returning to school,” Conrad Bessemer, chairman and co-founder of Opteev told WBAL TV.

He said that the machine uses biosensing technology to detect if there’s something harmful in the air.

“It recognizes any of the SARS viruses, but it also recognizes influenza. It doesn’t have the power to distinguish between the viruses, but it knows something bad is in the room,” Bessemer said.

Company officials said the device’s accuracy rate is between 70% and 80%, and it comes with software designed to filter out false positive and false negative readings.

A pair of models, available in September, are being marketed to businesses and schools: a lightweight one priced at $459 and a larger model for $799.

A household model, said to be coming out later, will cost around $200.

Opteev said it designed the “ViraWarn” after reports and studies indicated that indoor areas and shared spaces have been a large contributor to the spread of coronavirus.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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