Breathalyzer to Detect COVID-19 in Seconds


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Being able to tell, in a matter of seconds, whether someone is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 would certainly help put a halt to the ongoing pandemic. Existing tests typically involve a deep nasal swab to obtain enough fluid sample, which has to be transferred to a laboratory machine for processing, with the results usually available many hours or even days after. There are five minute tests on the market, but those still require an expensive machine at each testing site.

Now, researchers at Ohio State University have developed and are testing a breathalyzer that can detect metabolites related to a COVID-19 infection within fifteen seconds. The technology may allow for mass screenings of travelers at airports and those attending large public events, as well as any facility that wants to help prevent infections.

“Breath analysis is not really a technique that is used widely in the medical field yet, so it is considered early-stage work,” said Perena Gouma, the lead developer of the new device, in an Ohio State announcement. “[We] have a sensor device that detects nitric oxide and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in breath and can be used to tell you about the onset of an infectious disease.”

Along with nitric oxide, two other metabolites are screened by the new breathalyzer that are related to COVID-19. Because the device indicates the metabolite concentrations, it may also help with disease monitoring to assess progression.

Apparently the technology is cheap to manufacture and just about anyone can perform a test using the breathalyzer. Results are displayed on the device within fifteen seconds and don’t require any interpretation.

“We are working on making these hand-held monitors that will be widely distributed and they’re very inexpensive,” Gouma added. “The technology evolved from the sensors used for monitoring gases in an automotive exhaust – that’s how we started on breath analysis 20 years ago.”

On the occasion of its 3 years, Successful Journey, Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology decided to provide a partial waiver on its article processing charges to promote quality research from across the nations of the globe to encourage the latest research in the field of Infections, Diseases and Medicine. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology also planning to release a special issue on its new approaches.


Mary Wilson

Editorial office

Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology