In the war against the novel Coronavirus, researchers at Ohio State University have developed a breathalyzer that can actually detect metabolites that are related to COVID-19 in about 15 seconds. As of right now, the only real tests involve nasal swabs which then have to be transported to a lab to be analysed. This takes a few hours or sometimes even a few days, But, with this new breathalyzer, you can find out if someone has been infected with the Coronavirus in just about 15 short seconds. What this means is that mass screenings and testing can now take place in large public gatherings such as airports, malls and such. First reported by Medgadget, the breathalyzer is not widely used in the medical field but researchers are confident that it will see mass adoption soon.
In an announcement, Lead Developer Perena Gouma said, “Breath analysis is not really a technique that is used widely in the medical field yet, so it is considered early-stage work. 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”. From what we know, the test is relatively easy to manufacture and is quite cheap. Anyone who owns the breathalyzer can perform the test on themselves. This breathalyzer uses new nanomaterials that collect and measure the relevant gases.
Perena Gouda also added, “We are working on making these hand-held monitors that will be widely distributed and they’re very inexpensive. 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.”
In other COVID-19 related news, Google Maps will now alert users of crowded buses, COVID-19 checkpoints, and more. You can read more about that story here. Fitbit also plans to make emergency ventilators for COVID-19 patients in India and you can read more about that here. Also, you can check out how the SwissCovid Contact tracing app is different from Aarogya Setu, right here.