This Watch-Like Sensor can Detect COVID-19 and Flu

Smartwatches have made health and fitness tracking quite common these days. Wearables from Apple, Fitbit, and other brands can track your sleep, heartbeat, blood oxygen levels, and more quite easily.

Now a plethora of new studies seek to push the bounds of wearable sensor technology. As such, a team of bioengineers from the University of Texas in collaboration with EnLiSense LLC has developed a wearable sensor that can detect infections through your sweat.

The research was published in Advanced Materials Technologies and it shows that the wearable sensor can detect two important biomarkers in sweat. These are known as gamma-inducible protein (IP-10) and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL).

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If the sensors detect high levels of these two biomarkers, it means that there is likely a cytokine storm occurring in your body, which occurs when the human body contracts a severe infection.

The head of the research team, Dr. Shalini Prasad, described how detecting these markers through sweat is groundbreaking.

Our work is pioneering because, until this date, it was unclear whether these molecules were present in sweat. We established that our low-volume passive sweat technology is indeed able to measure these biomarkers.

With COVID-19 infections still at risk throughout the world, the new wearable sensor could prove to be extremely useful in detecting early signs of the virus. It could also detect the flu.