Two manufacturers of airflow, temperature and sensor technology that spun out a Baltimore-based company called Opteev have launched an in-room virus detection system for COVID-19, the flu and other viruses.
Opteev says the airborne virus detector — called ViraWarn — is the first plug-in screening device to analyze air in indoor spaces, detect virus contamination and warn occupants, which the developers say will keep schools, hospitals, meeting rooms and offices safe. Testing is taking place at outside laboratories in India now with U.S. testing set to begin soon.
The system uses biosensing technology to screen air as opposed to the COVID-19 tests for humans that require a biological sample from a nasal swab.
ViraWarn is being marketed as a way to not only help stop the spread of COVID-19, new variants and other viruses but spur the return to pre-pandemic in-person working, learning, worshipping and recreating.
The technology is being launched by Opteev — a sister company of Novatec Inc., which holds patents in airflow and air-drying machinery, and MachineSense LLC, which develops Industry 4.0 manufacturing platforms for airflow conveying systems.
Opteev is 80 percent owned by Novatec, according to Conrad Bessemer, Novatec CEO and the chairman and co-founder of Opteev.
"Opteev formed in June, but the project has been worked on by MachineSense and Prophecy Sensorlytics in India, where we have 40 employees, for over a year," Bessemer said in an email. "We focused on early India testing and use because India was a hotbed of COVID earlier this year and first established the Delta variant."
Bessemer describes Opteev's mission as improving health safety in a world less tolerant of behaviors that promote virus transmission yet also eager to get back into the classroom, office and other indoor settings.
"With more people dying from COVID-19 in the first six months of 2021 than all of 2020, it's clear that the pandemic is far from behind us," Bessemer said. "Less than half of Americans are fully vaccinated, and dangerous COVID-19 variants have been identified. New procedures and technologies are needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 this year while allowing people to enjoy their lives."
The science behind ViraWarn and its patent-pending technology makes it possible to detect coronaviruses in real time and alert decision-makers so that they can evacuate and disinfect common indoor areas like classrooms and waiting rooms, added Biplab Pal, co-founder and chief technology officer at Opteev.
"This screening is a game-changer," Biplab said. "Before this technology was developed, we had to wait days to get test results back, and by that time, it's too late. With ViraWarn, we're making it safer to be together indoors and helping prevent large-scale virus transmission in the future."