New breath test to detect COVID-19 within 60 seconds

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Clinical trials are currently underway in Dubai to test the accuracy of a breath test to detect COVID-19 within 60 seconds.

Joint trials are being conducted by Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Breathonix Pte Ltd involving 2,500 patients.

The test requires a person to blow into a disposable mouthpiece which is connected to a breath sampler. The exhaled breath is fed into a cutting-edge mass spectrometer for measurement. A machine learning software analyses the volatile organic compound (VOC) profile and generates the result in less than a minute.

If successful, the breath test can dramatically reduce the burden on laboratories and cut the time taken for results.

“In line with the vision of the leadership of the UAE, DHA is keen to foster medical research and innovation. We have collaborated with national and international institutes in the field of research and innovation particularly for COVID-19 to implement path-breaking technologies, which can drastically improve diagnostics and care for COVID-19 patients. This technology is certainly very promising particularly because the speed of diagnosis is just 60 seconds per patient. This kind of rapid diagnosis has a potential to be a game-changer in the global fight against COVID-19,” Dr. Hussain Al Samt, Director of Pathology and Genetics Department at the DHA, said.

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