Scientist Reveals New COVID Monitoring Device That Gets Implanted Under Skin

An implant that allows a person’s health to be monitored could be developed by combining technology and medicine.

Armed Forces Veteran In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Col. Matt Hepburn, who worked for years for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, discussed the project.

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Hepburn, who still works for the Army as a physician and as a “joint product lead,” according to his LinkedIn profile, demonstrated the implant to CBS’ Bill Whitaker, who remarked on its utility.

“Take the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which was crippled last year after 1,271 crew members tested positive for the coronavirus. What if everyone on board was monitored by this subdermal implant, which is currently in late-stage testing?” Whitaker explained. “It’s a tissue-like gel designed to continuously test your blood, not some dreaded government microchip that tracks your every move.”

Hepburn held up one of the inventions and said, “It’s a sensor.”

“You put the tiny green thing under your skin, and what that shows you is that there are chemical reactions going on within the body, and that signal means you’ll have symptoms tomorrow,” he said.

Hepburn compared the sensor to a car’s “check engine” light.

“Once the signal was received, sailors would self-administer a blood draw and examine themselves on the spot,” he explained.

He said that the results would be almost instantaneous.

Hepburn said, “We can have the knowledge in three to five minutes.”

“What you do when you shorten the period, when you diagnose and treat, is you avoid the infection in its tracks.”

The news organization Defense One described how an embedded sensor designed by Profusa, a DARPA-funded company, will work.

“There are two pieces to the sensor. A 3mm string of hydrogel, a material with a network of polymer chains that is used in contact lenses and other implants, is one example. The string, which is inserted under the skin with a syringe, contains a specially designed molecule that “sends a fluorescent signal outside the body when the body starts to combat an infection,” according to the article.


Margaret Taylor

Experienced communications professional with 10 years of experience in international journalism.

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