Tech Transfer eNews Blog

National U of Singapore start-up advances 60-second breathalyzer test for COVID-19

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 11th, 2020

A start-up from the National University of Singapore is developing a breathalyzer test that could detect COVID-19 in 60 seconds.

The Breathonix test uses mass spectrometry to analyze the thousands of volatile organic compounds in a person’s breath, establishing a specific signal among those with an active coronavirus infection. Using a machine learning algorithm, this generates a “bio-fingerprint of COVID-19,” according to Breathonix co-founder and CEO Jia Zhunan.

“Based on more than six years of research at the National University of Singapore, we have developed a highly sophisticated proprietary breath sampling technique and analytical method to achieve high accuracy, sensitivity and specificity,” Zhunan says.

By using disposable mouthpieces and one-way valves, the test may be used for mass screening in busy areas such as airports, hotels and sports venues.

Breathonix says more trials will be required to improve and validate the accuracy of the test. In an ongoing pilot study of 180 people, the test has shown an overall sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 95%. Breathonix estimates the total cost could be as low as $20 per test.

“The company is ready to deploy pilots in Singapore in the coming weeks and to extend to international pilots in the coming months, pending regulatory approval,” says co-founder and chief operating officer Du Fang.

Source: Fierce Biotech

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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