COVID-19: FDA approves first US breath test

Deepak Gupta April 17, 2022
Updated 2022/04/17 at 3:41 PM

Although we’ve known about it for over two years, the COVID-19 tests that are used still involve a swab and clear discomfort. However, now, the FDA has approved the first test for the infection that involves only breathing.

Singapore approved a similar device about 10 months ago.

on one Press releasethe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America has made it known that it has authorized the use of a COVID-19 test that only implies that the user breathes.

Although there are other issues on the agenda and COVID-19 is, in most countries, apparently under control, it is still necessary to ensure methods that detect the disease quickly. Although PCR tests are highly accurate, they imply a clear discomfort, as well as hours of waiting for the result.

Therefore, this new detection device, InspectIR, is the size of a handbag and requires the person being tested to blow into a paper straw. Subsequently, the sample is analyzed and determines whether the COVID-19 test is positive or negative.

Less invasive COVID-19 test

To carry out the test, InspectIR uses gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, which assumes that the air sample in the paper straw is vaporized and the elements contained in it are bombarded with a beam of high energy electrons. This sample is deconstructed into smaller molecules that will be analyzed by the mass/charge ratio.

During a COVID-19 test, InspectIR is only looking for five elements that are associated with the infection. If it detects them, the test will give a positive result within three minutes.

Unlike the quick tests we know, this one cannot be done at home, nor can it be bought. In turn, it will have to be performed by a health professional, with the advantage of not involving any invasive method.

In a study carried out with about 2,400 people, the device was able to detect 91.2% of cases. However, despite FDA clearance, the ABC News revealed that a positive still needs a PCR test.

The company responsible for InspectIR intends to manufacture about 100 devices a week and lease them to sectors that are interested in carrying out mass COVID-19 tests.

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