Idea Stage
Actively Recruiting

Detect covid-19 in building air filters

Created over 1 year ago
8 Volunteers

About the Project


Testing the entire population for a virus is infeasible in most countries. Testing the air filters in buildings is a way to divide and conquer the problem. For example, if covid-19 is found in the air filter of a retirement home, then all the people living there could be tested.

Metagenomic sequencing (mNGS) and qPCR have been shown to work on samples from air filters to identify viruses and bacteria. See links below. The equipment needed is relatively cheap (<100k), and the lab techniques needed can be learned in a few days. There appear to be no regulatory barriers because the testing is not done on human beings. The challenge remaining is to build a central operation that can run tests efficiently.

While it may be too late to get started to help with covid-19, this type of service will surely be valuable in preventing or managing future outbreaks.


"Respiratory viruses were detected in 27% of aerosol samples."

"Overall, 16 (33.3%) of the 48 specimens indicated evidence of at least 1 respiratory pathogen"


"Four (17%) of the 24 samples were positive for known respiratory pathogens "

"One air sample (1 of 18 samples, 5.5%) tested positive for influenza B virus. Of the 40 surface samples, 7 (17.5%) were positive for pathogens."

How far along is it

Ideation, research and investigation. Two owners of a large numbers of commercial buildings have signed up.

Help Needed

Tasks that need to get done

- better understand the state of the art from the scientific literature
- research any other equivalent services and their approaches
- set up a landing page to explain the service and sign up users and volunteers
- research any relevant regulations
- interview potential first users
- develop the actionability of the info

Project details

Who is already working on this

Greg Dingle - science and software
Chris Allen - partnerships
Roshan Virk - marketing
Mike Cowland - HVAC engineer

How to get in touch
Number of volunteers needed
Preferred Volunteer location
Organization status
Not specified