How Umicore is helping to limit the spread of COVID-19?
Over the past few months we have heard repeatedly about Coronavirus strain COVID-19 and its spread around the world. What is not widely known is that one of the screening methods used at places of significant public gatherings – such as airports and train stations – utilises infra-red (IR) thermal imaging optical components manufactured by Umicore.
The human body temperature can fluctuate greatly depending on the health of the individual. Screening for viruses and illness with thermal imaging cameras has been used for many years in densely populated areas where the risk of contamination is higher than normal. The purpose is as a preventative safety measure to try to identify possible infected individuals early on, when perhaps they are not showing any outward signs or symptoms of illness, and use the information to help inform a triage system of care.
The use of thermal imaging in medical screening does not necessarily mean that specific viruses can be detected, only that some individuals might require further tests to get definitive results. In addition, environmental and other factors should be considered that could give rise to false-positive readings. However, early detection is regarded as an important aspect of helping to contain widespread outbreaks.
As research into COVID-19 continues and we learn more about the early detection of the virus and its physiological effects on the human body, it might be possible to further utilise IR technology and be even more specific in our early detection screening.
The Umicore range of IR optical products are at the very forefront of thermal imaging capability, and are already being utilised around the world in a myriad of ways for the early detection and control of the COVID-19 virus.