Diagnostic performance of respirators for collection and detection of SARS-CoV-2

Hwang soo Kim, Hansol Lee, Seonghui Kang, Woo Joo Kim, Sehyun Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Respirators, called as face mask, have been used to protect the wearer from the outside harmful air environment and prevent any virus from being released to neighbors from potentially infected exhaled breath. The antiviral effectiveness of respirators has not only been researched scientifically, but has also become a global issue due to society's obligation to wear respirators. In this paper, we report the results of a study on the collection and detection of viruses contained in exhaled breath using respirators. The inner electrostatic filter was carefully selected for virus collection because it does not come in direct contact with either human skin or the external environment. In the study of a healthy control group, it was confirmed that a large amount of DNA and biomolecules such as exosomes were collected from the respirator exposed to exhalation, and the amount of collection increased in proportion to the wearing time. We conducted experiments using a total of 72 paired samples with nasopharyngeal swabs and respirator samples. Out of these samples, fifty tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and twenty-two tested negative. The PCR results of the NPS and respirator samples showed a high level of agreement, with a positive percent agreement of ≥ 90% and a negative percent agreement of ≥ 99%. Furthermore, there was a notable level of concordance between RCA-flow tests and PCR when examining the respirator samples. These results suggest that this is a non-invasive, quick and easy method of collecting samples from subjects using a respirator, which can significantly reduce the hassle of waiting at airports or public places and concerns about cross-contamination. Furthermore, we expect miniaturized technologies to integrate PCR detection into respirators in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13277
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

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© 2023, Springer Nature Limited.

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