Breathalyser That Tests For Covid In Two Minutes Passes Trial
A breathalyser that could test for Covid-19 in just two minutes has passed a trial.
Researchers at Gajah Mada University in Indonesia believe the device, named GeNose, could be a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly disease.
Also, while the conventional swab test can be quite unpleasant, the breathalyser just requires patients to blow into a tube, which experts say is pain-free.
The device tests for volatile organic compounds related to the coronavirus, and has an accuracy rate of 93 percent.
Following the trial, Indonesia's Health Ministry has now approved it for distribution.
Speaking about the breakthrough, lead researcher Kuwat Triyana said: "With a batch of 100 devices we will soon distribute [to hospitals and labs], we hope we will be able to do 120 tests per device, or 12,000 tests per day.
"The 120 estimate is based on the three minutes required to test each subject, which includes [blowing into the device], so in one hour the device can test 20 people if it functions for six hours."
The target is to produce 10,000 breathalysers by the end of February, and to test 1.2 million people each day in the country.
Professor Kuwat added: "With the capability to test as many people as possible, hopefully we can find people who have contracted Covid-19 without any symptoms and isolate or treat them immediately to break the chain of infections."
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This comes as the Indonesian government put a ban on foreign visitors entering the country for two weeks from 1 January in a bid to stop the spread of the new strain of the disease.
As of 28 December, Indonesia had recorded 719,219 Covid-19 infections, with 21,452 people having died, the highest figure in South-east Asia.
The drug has been developed by University College London Hospitals NHS trust (UCLH) and AstraZeneca - the pharmaceutical company behind a vaccine for the virus alongside Oxford University.
The new antibody therapy would grant 'instant immunity against the disease', the Guardian reports, offering ongoing protection for up to a year.
It could be given as an emergency treatment to patients in hospital and those in care homes, in turn helping to contain outbreaks of the deadly disease.
Dr Catherine Houlihan, a virologist at UCLH who is leading a study called Storm Chaser into the drug, said it could be a huge step forward.
She said: "If we can prove that this treatment works and prevent people who are exposed to the virus going on to develop Covid-19, it would be an exciting addition to the arsenal of weapons being developed to fight this dreadful virus."
Featured Image Credit: UGM
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