- The breath-analyzer test has been developed by a Singapore based startup company Breathonix
- Breathonix is currently working with the Health Ministry to further detest the effectiveness of the test
- The Breathonix’s BreFence Go COVID Test System will assess compounds present in human’s exhaled breath to identify strains of COVID-19 virus
Several tests and researches are being conducted worldwide to catch a grasp on the virus and its quick proliferation. In some cases, rapid antigen and RT-PCR test were found ineffective leading to the necessity of tests that could produce quicker and accurate results.
Recently, Singapore has provisionally authorized a rapid Breath-analyzer Tests to detect the presence of coronavirus in a person’s system by assessing their breath. The test is considered as the first-of-its-kind COVID test to receive provisional authority in the country.
The Breath-analyzer Test
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) of Singapore has given a provisional approval to a breath-analyzer test to detect the coronavirus. This first-of-its-kind test has been modelled by a Singapore based startup company Breathonix which is a spin off from the National University of Singapore.
The test, Breathonix’s BreFence Go COVID-19 Breath Test System, has been developed to accurately detect the strains of coronavirus in a person’s system in under a minute. According to reports, Breathonix developed the test to identify the volatile organic compounds (VOC) that are found in the exhaled human breath. These VOCs are generated by several biochemical reactions induced in human cells. The VOC of a healthy person differs from that of a sick person. Due to their distinguished structure, VOC changes are regarded as the distinguishing markers for diseases like COVID-19.
The BreFence Go COVID-19 Breath Test System
In order to conduct the breath-analyzer test, a person needs to blow into one of the disposable mouthpieces which are designed specifically to avoid cross-contamination. These mouthpieces resemble the breathalyzers used by police officials to detect alcohol in a person’s system. For VOC measurements, the exhaled breath is fed into a cutting-edge mass spectrometer. Using various software and technological algorithms, the collected chemical compounds identify the presence of the COVID-19 virus in under 60 seconds.
The BreFence Go Covid Test system can be carried out by trained personnel. It does not require any medical assistance or further laboratory testing. In case the test shows positive result, further RT-PCR testing will be carried out to obtain confirmation.
Breath-analyzer Test to Reopen the Travel Sector
In Singapore, the clinical trials were conducted at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Changi Airport. The pilot studies were carried out in Singapore with 180 subjects. According to the test results, the BreFence Go COVID-19 Breath Test System was found to have 93% sensitivity and 95% specificity with a machine learning algorithm.
Currently, the company is working in collaboration with the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) to further detest the accuracy of the results. According to reports, Singapore will screen incoming travelers from Malaysia at the Tuas Checkpoint on the western side of the island in a deployment trial of the breathalyzers. Anyone who tests positive in the Breath-analyzer Tests would be screened in a confirmatory PCR swab test. Along with the antigen rapid tests, Singapore would continue the breath-analyzer test simultaneously. This could help the Singapore government to open its borders to travelers amidst the pandemic and reopen the travel sector which witnessed a heavy crash due to the lockdowns.