National University of Singapore (NUS)’s new startup, Breathonix, has found a new way to figure out if a person is infected with COVID-19, using a breathalyzer, under 60- seconds. The government of Singapore has provisionally approved it for use with some limitations. While it won’t be available for use in the mainstream for at least a few months, if fully approved, this could be the norm compared to the typical swap testing that people are not that fond of.
Why It Matters: The biggest advantage of the Covid-19 breathalyzer is the fact that you won’t need a trained medical professional to test for the infection.
How Does It Work: It works exactly the way cops use breathalyzer tests to catch drunk drivers. People need to just breathe normally as they would, without any discomfort & the breathalyzer does the rest.
When you exhale, your breath will contain something called “Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)“. Breathonix states that a person’s VOCs will change from the normal baseline that could detect if the person is suffering from Covid-19 infection.
The company said that the tests are expected to be sold for between S$5-S$20 ($3.76-$15.03), the users would simply breathe in disposable mouthpieces, and the breathalyzer would detect chemical compounds to determine if a person is infected.
The Future: While the test is not fully accurate, it’s promising. CEO, Jia Zhunan, said that the breathalyzer, “achieved a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 95%” during their pilot test with 180 people. The manufacture is working closely with the Singapore government for a “deployment trial”, which if approved fully could revolutionize COVID-19 testing as we know it.