A breath test developed in Britain can detect COVID-19 and distinguish it from other respiratory tract infections almost instantly.
The test results of the new test, which were conducted in Scotland and Germany, were published in the authoritative medical journal Lancet. Its developer, Imspex Diagnostics, said the test device would be ready in six months if funding is available.
"The outlook, I think, is very inspiring," said founder and CEO Santi Dominguez. "The fact that it is instant will allow it to be applied in a variety of situations, not just in hospitals."
"Its potential is in aviation, in transport, in working with migrants. A breath sample can be taken quickly, it is not invasive, you do not need a specially trained person, and in a few minutes you already have a resul", - he says.
The device is based on technology that was originally used in the development of tests for the diagnosis of lung cancer, and in order to quickly distinguish a bacterial infection from a viral one. However, after the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the company decided to focus its efforts on diagnostics.
The device analyzes a breath sample, looking for unstable chemical elements that provide a clue to the type of respiratory illness. The test was able to detect COVID-19 in these elements. Later, the presence of coronavirus was confirmed by other testing methods.
For example, tests have distinguished coronavirus from other diseases such as asthma or bacterial pneumonia.
The tests carried out in Edinburgh also identified chemical elements, which make it possible to determine the severity of the disease and the danger of death with a high probability.
"If these tests are proven to be reliable, they will open up the possibility of quickly diagnosing COVID-19 in clinics or emergency departments, which will greatly facilitate the work of medical staff", - the scientists say.
It is especially important to quickly identify COVID-19 during periods of influenza epidemics, which may have similar symptoms. Scientists are extremely inspired by the new development, but so far its testing has not been large enough. Testing was performed on approximately 100 patients.