A breathalyzer that can detect coronavirus within a minute has been granted provisional authorization by Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA).
The breath test, called the BreFence™ Go COVID-19 Breath Test System, was developed by Breathonix Pte Ltd, a spin-off company of the National University of Singapore (NUS). HSA has also confirmed that the breath test is among the COVID-19 tests given provisional authorization, making it the first of such to receive one.
The breath analysis system works by using a disposable one-way valve mouthpiece an individual will exhale into. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can be used as markers for diseases such as COVID-19 and Lung Cancer, present in a person’s exhaled breath will then be measured and analyzed by the system and will return results in about 60 seconds.
Individuals screened as positive will need to undergo a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 swab test. The breathalyzer will enable Covid-19 testing to be done much faster and more efficiently, without the need for the samples to be processed elsewhere, according to the company. Breathonix added that trained personnel will administer the test, with no need for medically trained staff.
According to NUS, the technology was tested on more than 3,000 people in Singapore and Dubai and achieved more than 90% accuracy in its pilot trial. The company will conduct a deployment trial at one of the city-state’s border points with Malaysia.