Health and Fitness

A Singaporean Tech Company Just Developed a 60-Second Breath Test to Detect COVID-19

We repeat: within one minute.
IMAGE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE
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If you've taken a COVID-19 test in the last few months (or at least heard about the process), then you know that it's not exactly a walk in the park. The two most popular kinds—the PCR swab test and antibody blood test—are both pretty invasive.

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The good news is that Breathonix, a spin-off company from the National University of Singapore (NUS), has developed a more "easy-to-use" test through breath analysis. Even more amazing, the test's results come out within a minute.

The fast and convenient solution will no doubt change how things work. As far as accuracy goes, the game-changing technology has achieved more than 90-percent accuracy in a Singapore-based pilot clinical trial.

"Our breath test is easy to administer, and it does not require specially-trained staff or laboratory processing. Results are generated in real-time, making it an attractive solution for mass screening, especially in areas with high human traffic. We believe our breath analysis platform shows promise in changing the tides of this pandemic," says Breathonix chief executive officer Dr. Jia.

The tech detects Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in a person's exhaled breath. "VOCs are consistently produced by various biochemical reactions in human cells. Different diseases cause specific changes to the compounds, resulting in detectable changes in a person’s breath profile. As such, VOCs can be measured as markers for diseases like COVID-19," Dr. Jia explains.

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Every single thing has been thought of: The machine, for instance, uses a disposable mouthpiece that has a "one-way valve and a saliva trap," so cross-contamination is virtually impossible. More tests are needed before the breath analysis platform can be deployed, but its a game-changing step nonetheless.

Watch the National University of Singapore's video below.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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