Pentagon researchers develop under-the-skin sensor that detects COVID infection


A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

(NEXSTAR) – Pentagon researchers have created a sensor that can detect a COVID-19 infection in the blood.

The sensor, which is in late-stage testing, was unveiled by retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician, during a segment of “60 Minutes” Sunday night.

The subdermal implant is reportedly a “tissue-like gel” that was engineered to continuously test the wearer’s blood.

“That tiny green thing in there, you put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,” Hepburn told Bill Whitaker of “60 Minutes.”

Hepburn compared the sensor to a “check engine light” that alerts the body when something is amiss. The sensor can transmit information within three to five minutes, he said.

The idea is to stop COVID-19 infections in their tracks, before the virus spreads.

This has been a problem for the U.S. Defense Department, which has reported more than 250,000 COVID-19 infections around the world.

“As you truncate that time, as you diagnose and treat, what you do is you stop the infection in its tracks,” Hepburn said.

Hepburn also revealed a dialysis-like machine that removes the virus from blood.

“[The machine] takes the virus out, and puts the blood back in,” he said.

The filter has proven promising in early trials.

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