A South-west Ontario-based company, Kontrol Energy Corp. claims to have developed a game-changing technology that can detect novel Coronavirus particles in the air.
The Canadian company is a leader in the energy efficiency and air quality sector through IoT, Cloud, and SaaS technology. But when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world company CEO Paul Ghezzi wondered they can use the power of technology to combat the global health crisis.
He said in March this year, "we asked the question: Could we measure for COVID-19 like we do these very small particulates that we're looking for in industrial facilities, including volatile organic compounds?" Later, the company started working with two microbiology laboratories in London, including a research lab at Canada's Western University where SARS-CoV-2 samples are stored and developed a device, "BioCloud".
The Coronavirus Detector
BioCloud includes a fan that helps to draw air into its chamber and then the device starts analyzing the Coronavirus particles. As per Ghezzi, the new technology will "flag an alert for COVID-19 and then you can properly test each individual [in the room]".
Placed inside an area of around 1,000 square feet, like an office or classroom, the BioCloud is found to be capable of cycling through all of the indoor air multiple times per hour, said the company CEO.
Kontrol Energy Corp. has received $50,000 in federal funding from Canada's National Research Council to support the research. A professor of microbiology and immunology at Western University, David Heinrichs who overseen the testing on the device said, "There's no doubt in my mind that this technology can quickly and effectively detect an array of airborne pathogens, including the virus that causes COVID-19." He also noted that the results of the test are "absolutely conclusive."
As reported, the Canadian company has planned to start selling the game-changing product in November this year and the price will be $12,000 each. The company is now aiming to produce 20,000 units per month, as many interested buyers have been showing their interest.
There Are Doubts
Even though the BioCloud device was created to keep public places safe from the Coronavirus infection, some experts express their doubts about the device. Dasantila Golemi-Kotra, an associate professor of molecular, cellular, and chemical biology at York University in Toronto said "I was quite happy to see these new technologies coming up, but as a scientist then the questions start coming up."
The expert said that Coronavirus particles would be difficult to identify in the air, as these are fragile and it can also resemble other viruses. She raised questions several questions, such as "What is the level of sensor sensitivity? How selective is the device against this particular virus, the novel coronavirus? How accurate is it?"
However, the company is yet to release details of the tests and how BioCloud operates, to protect the company's own technology. But Kontrol Energy Corp. is not the only one to develop such a Coronavirus detection device.
Researchers at Colorado State University are also developing a virus detector, Aerosol Devices system, which is similar to BioCloud. Scientists at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, are using graphene technology to build filtration systems that will be able to purportedly protect against SARS-CoV-2 particles.