In Brief: Israeli-made Nano COVID breath test spots every carrier in trial

In a potentially significant development, a rapid Israeli COVID-19 breath test successfully completed clinical trials, according to a newly peer-reviewed study. The device uses nanotechnology to identify compounds from the lung that are present in the breath of coronavirus patients, and is being developed by Prof. Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. “You just blow into the device, which is the size of a smartphone, for 2 to 3 seconds, from a distance of 2 centimeters away,” he said. “There are no accessories, it requires no lab processing, and it gives results within 30 seconds of blowing.” The current prototypes of the device are half-held, but Haick said that the final product will require no touch, meaning that the “danger of cross-contamination is very low.” The clinical trial examined 140 people, 49 of them confirmed coronavirus patients. It identified all carriers as coronavirus positive, although it incorrectly reported seven healthy patients to be positive. Current swab tests also throw up some false positives, but it’s not known exactly how many, as people often assume their result is correct and they are asymptomatic. These are reportedly not of great concern to doctors who view them as less damaging than false negatives that can lead people to assume wrongly they are virus-free and spread the coronavirus. Haick expects the test to be accredited quickly due to the urgency of COVID testing. “If everything goes well with further clinical studies, I hope it will be available and regulated within six months,” he said. The test is one of several innovations being worked on in Israel, including a new ultra-fast gargle-and-spit test, to improve on current testing, which includes an unpleasant swabbing process and requires lengthy lab analysis.
Read full article