Breath test detects COVID-19 in 60 seconds

Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis created a breath test that can identify people with COVID-19 infections in less than a minute. 

The breath test, created with 3-D printers, contains an electrochemical biosensor that can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus from aerosols generated by users blowing through a straw into the device. The device is then connected to a small machine that reveals a positive or negative COVID-19 result.

Researchers say the device could be used in physician offices or nursing homes to quickly diagnose people with COVID-19. They could also be used at public events to prevent disease outbreaks.

"For example, if people are in line to enter a hospital, a sports arena or the White House Situation Room, 15-minute nasal swab tests aren't practical, and PCR tests take even longer," researcher John Cirrito, PhD, a professor of neurology at Washington University's School of Medicine, said in a July 31 news release. "Plus, home tests are about 60 [percent] to 70 [percent] accurate, and they produce a lot of false negatives. This device will have diagnostic accuracy." 

Researchers said the device could be modified to simultaneously identify other viruses such as flu or respiratory syncytial virus. Clinical trials involving the device are ongoing.


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