Islamabad-Aeronautic giant Airbus is working on sensors that could be used to sniff out coronavirus. Ultra-sensitive ‘smell cameras’ have been in development since 2017 and were initially designed to detect explosives.

The innovative sensors use microprocessors made of biological cells to identify specific chemicals or microbes floating in the air. Similar technology has already been used to detect cancer and influenza, and it could soon be used to provide advance warning of areas contaminated with SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

According to the people behind the project, there are already ‘encouraging’ signs of early progress as the technology is adapted help to fight the pandemic. California-based Koniku partnered with Airbus on the project as the start-up specializes in neurotechnology.

Adapting the existing technology in the help against the coronavirus pandemic is possible because the virus makes slight tweaks to particles produced by humans. These alterations act as markers which can trigger the so-called smell cameras.