Thermo Fisher Scientific announced the launch of its toaster-oven-sized Thermo Scientific AerosolSense Sampler, which can help detect airborne pathogens including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Thermo Fisher brings In-Air SARS-CoV-2 surveillance solution

The AerosolSense Sampler collects representative aerosol samples of ambient air and traps in-air pathogens on a collection substrate. The sample can be readily analyzed through subsequent laboratory testing using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methodology. The extra information can help leaders at hospitals and other indoor facilities better take actions to protect people — and boost confidence that particular spaces are safe.

“Such factors as emerging variants, semi-vaccinated populations and varying levels of compliance with COVID-19 personal safety protocols, continue to pose risks to a society looking to return to life as it was before the pandemic,” Thermo Fisher Scientific EVP and COO Mark Stevenson said in a news release.

“It is important that easy-to-use, highly reliable solutions be available to allow hospitals, nursing homes, schools, businesses and government institutions to identify the presence of in-air pathogens quickly, so safety protocols can be put into action, validated, or strengthened,” Stevenson said.

John Burke, fire chief at the Sandwich Fire Department in Massachusetts, said the department could get results from the AerosolSense Sampler within 24 hours — which was critical. Dr. John Broach of UMass Memorial Medical Center said the device was helpful not only in a field hospital but micro areas such as breakrooms.

The New York Times noted that the device sells for $4,995, with experts describing it as more simpler and accessible than other air-testing devices on the market.