Minnesota company using viral sign technology for early detection of COVID-19

Jessica Miles
Updated: November 23, 2020 08:10 PM
Created: November 23, 2020 07:11 PM

A Minnesota company is using technology that claims to detect the presence of a virus even before the onset of fever.

Taher Incorporated, a food manufacturer, is using the technology in its plants and says it's been a successful tool since the summer.

"Everybody's always talking about how do we know if somebody has it or not," said Bill Dornbach, with Viral Sign.

It's a question many have asked, and a Minnesota company says it now has an answer.

Viral Sign uses infrared imaging to produce a thermal signature of the face.

In real-time, that image is assessed to identify patterns consistent with early, pre-symptomatic influenza like illness, like COVID-19.

"I think as a state we need to look at more ideas like this, vetted out of course," Minnesota State Rep. Jon Koznick said.

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Viral Sign claims it can detect the presence of virus prior to the onset of fever.

"Literally in these plants that are using our device, they can see an individual start to scale up and start to go out," Dornbach said.
Taher Incorporated says it's been a huge tool for the company and its employees.

"We've actually had two instances where we have caught and flagged people because of the Viral Sign, pulled them out of circulation asked them to go get a COVID test, and in both instances both of them came back positive," Shawn Taher said. "And we are able to prevent shutting two whole plants down as a result."

For Taher Incorporated, it has helped ease employee concerns.

"For our employees, it provides comfort and a safety net that they know that everyone they are working around has been vetted through, and that allows them to come and work with higher morale, more productivity, more trust and more confidence day in and day out," Taher said. 

Koznick hopes technology like this can help businesses, nursing homes and schools re-open and stay open, and could even help lawmakers.

"Maybe this is a way that legislators could maybe even work inside our St. Paul offices, not necessarily on the house floor, but we could be a little bit more together to exchange ideas in the upcoming session," he said.


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