Airborne coronavirus virus particles with unprotected person breathing them in.

British scientists have developed an electronic ceiling alarm that can detect the presence of SARS-COV-2, the Coronavirus which causes the COVID-19 disease, within half an hour.

The Coronavirus ceiling alarm, which is slightly larger than a smoke alarm, is being hailed as a highly accurate potential tool for screening COVID-19 carriers at airports, hospitals, care homes, schools, restaurants, and offices.

According to details, the alarm has been made by Roboscientific, a Cambridgeshire-based company, and has been tested in clinical trials by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University.

Early-stage clinical trials have shown that the alarm has an accuracy of 98-100% which makes it as reliable as gold-standard PCR lab-based COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

It works by sampling the air around it and sending the results to a mobile application within 15-30 minutes.

The alarm detects the presence of SARS-COV-2 by sensing special chemicals that are produced by the skin or are present in the breath of symptomatic and asymptomatic Coronavirus patients. These “volatile organic compounds” have a subtle smell that cannot be detected by humans.

Although dogs can sniff the odor of these special chemicals as they have already been deployed at different airports around the world, the Coronavirus alarm will be a highly accurate and more practical tool to detect SARS-COV-2 at a much larger scale.