Breathonix, a Singapore-based firm, has invented a new breathalyzer-style COVID test that provides results in 90 seconds. Could technology like this help jumpstart the travel industry?
The National University of Singapore supported startup, Breathonix, has just completed a clinical trial of its breathalyzer-style COVID test which provides rapid results in 60 to 90 seconds. The trial reportedly had a 90% accuracy rate and the firm aims to get full regulatory approval in the early part of 2021.
Traditional COVID testing has involved a nasal swab which is then sent to a lab for testing. Results can take a few days to get back. Rapid testing programs do exist however results are still only provided in around 15 to 30 minutes – far too slow to effectual in a fast paced travel setting.
A company like Breathonix could provide a faster way to determine if a traveler is infected. For example, before, during or after the traditional airport security screening process, passengers could be quickly tested. Or, airlines could use them prior to boarding along with other measures like temperature checking.
The company claims the process is far cheaper than the more expensive nasal swab method and suggests the test can be performed for around $20.
Using a disposable mouthpiece, test subjects blow into the device just like they might for a DUI screening. The results are processed in about 60 seconds and can tell if the person is infected. It’s worth noting that this test is really more like an initial screening. A nasal swab might still be required to validate a potential positive breath test. However, the test could be a quick and useful means of weeding out infected travelers giving the travel industry a much-needed tool to jumpstart the devastated industry.
â€œWith the advantages of 60 seconds in-situ test of COVID-19, the Breathonix system could potentially be used for mass screening in areas of high human traffic,â€ said Neo Kok Beng, Chairman of Breathonix. â€œWe believe we can contribute to the global economy through fast, accurate, and cost-effective screening.â€Press Release
Images courtesy of Breathonix