The prototype for the COVID breathalyzer

Singapore has developed a new way to test and detect COVID-19 in just 60 seconds and using an individuals breath, the Channel News Asia (CNA) reported.

Researchers from Breathonix Pte Ltd., a start-up from the National University of Singapore (NUS), have developed a new technology that analyzes breath to detect if an individual has COVID-19 infection. 

Moreover, to test the machine’s capability, Breathonix partnered with Singapore’s National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

So far, Breathonix’s breath analyzer has achieved more than 90% accuracy among its 180 patients.  

The machine is a product of the NUS’ Graduate Research Innovation Program (GRIP).

NUS, through GRIP, encourages its students to create start-ups “based on deep technologies,” per an NUS press release. 

The creator of the innovative Breathonix in their singapore laboratory

Easy to Administer and Produces Fast Results 

The university’s breath analyzer offers a quick solution in diagnosing COVID-19 infections.

“Our breath test is easy to administer,” says Dr. Jia Zhunan, Chief Executive of Breathonix, per NUS.

In fact, the machine does not need “specially-trained staff or laboratory processing,” and it uses algorithms for analyzation. 

Also, the machine produces results in real-time, making it useful for mass screening. 

Because of that, Dr. Jia believes, the machine’s technology can change the “tides of this pandemic.”

Individuals who want to get tested for COVID-19 would only have to blow through a disposable mouthpiece connected to the machine, said the NUS. 

The machine identifies volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from an individual’s breath. 

According to Dr. Jia, VOCs are produced through “various biochemical reactions in human cells.”

In fact, an individual’s breath containing compounds changes depending on their disease, explained Dr. Jia. 

Moreover, the disposable mouthpiece prevents inhalation and saliva from entering the machine, protecting it from contamination.

It “has a one-way valve and a saliva trap,” says Mr. Du Fang, Breathonix’s Chief Operating Officer. 

Dr. Jia originally developed the machine for the early detection of lung cancer among patients when she’s still a Ph.D. student.


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