BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Imagine being able to tell if there’s COVID-19 in a room before you enter. It’s technology being used at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

At UMBC they are going on the offense in their fight against COVID.

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“This was an opportunity for us to use a tool that could help us find issues and correct them quicker,” Michael Pound, Director of Environmental Safety and Health at UMBC, said.

Using that tool, known as the BioFlash, they are able to test high occupancy areas, to see if COVID is present in the air.

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“It just draws the air in and at the end of the test it will let you know if you have the virus present,” Pound said.

It’s technology that has been around for some time, used to detect biological warfare, it’s been repurposed in the era of COVID-19.

“What we changed is the biosensor and replaced something that’s specific to ricin or anthrax with something that’s specific to binding with the SARS-COV2 virus,” Warren Mino, Managing Director of Smiths Detection,” said.

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Baltimore Based Company, Smiths Detection created the BioFlash and teamed up with UMBC for a pilot program.

“It’s been amazing just learning with them how this could help the University,” Mino said.

It has helped in numerous ways. Earlier this month, they were able to detect the presence of COVID in a team locker room which led to all those present being tested.

“Ae were able to determine that there were positives there, and we were able to isolate and quarantine them,” Pound said.

They also anticipate the BioFlash playing a big role as they welcome more students back in the fall.

The BioFlash machine isn’t costing the University anything, but the actual test is a different story. Each time they run the machine, it cost $100 for the biosensor.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher