UMBC deploys BioFlash for airborne detection of SARS-CoV-2

The Smiths Detection device works by collecting and analysing air samples to identify the presence of dangerous pathogens

Smiths Detection has announced its BioFlash Biological Identifier has been used by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to identify airborne SARS-CoV-2 inside its campus in real-time at the point of testing.

As part of the university’s mitigation strategy for COVID-19, UMBC’s Environmental Safety and Health (ESH) team has been using BioFlash across the campus. In one instance, the airborne detector was deployed to help the campus community safely re-enter a research facility after an individual working there tested positive. After multiple tests performed, Smiths says, the BioFlash ruled out the presence of airborne SARS-CoV-2, the ESH team deemed the facility contamination free, allowing staff and students to safely return and research to continue without significant pause.

In a separate instance, a test conducted in a team locker room resulted in a positive environmental detection on the BioFlash. This detection ultimately led UMBC to test all people present for COVID-19, identifying three infected individuals and helping prevent further spread.

“We are delighted to see what we believe is a world-first for our technology. BioFlash, with its real-time results capability, has been used by UMBC in a real-world setting to successfully confirm the presence or absence of COVID-19 in the air and inform health and safety protocols,” said Smiths Detection President Roland Carter. “We have been working incredibly hard to provide a tool that will support the ongoing fight against COVID-19, and these applications demonstrate the role BioFlash can play in virus mitigation strategies.”

“The BioFlash system has helped us to prevent the spread of the virus in our on-campus community. We are also pleased that this tool to protect the health and safety of people on our campus is easy to use and environmentally friendly,” said Lynne Schaefer, UMBC VP for Administration and Finance. “We will be using this solution as part of a larger mitigation strategy, alongside other important tools like sanitation, masks, regular testing, physical distancing, and symptom monitoring.”

BioFlash works by collecting and analysing air samples using selective and rapid detection technology to identify the presence of dangerous pathogens onsite without the need for a laboratory. Following internal testing, Smiths Detection has engaged in various external studies to further verify the device’s SARS-CoV-2 detection capability, including working with the USAMRIID, which verified BioFlash could identify SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting.

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