A company in Singapore has developed a breathalyser test for the new coronavirus which it says will enable people to know whether they are infected in under a minute.

Breathonix, a startup firm from the National University of Singapore, says its test achieved more than 90% accuracy in a pilot clinical trial of 180 people in the city-state and hopes to get regulatory approval early next year.

A staff member demonstrates the usage of Breathonix breathalyzer test kit developed by Breathonix, a start-up by the National University of Singapore, able to detect the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within a minute according to the company, at their laboratory in Singapore October 29, 2020. Image: Reuters.

Countries worldwide are looking to develop alternative tests to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) nasal swab, which is invasive and in short supply in some places where demand has outstripped manufacturers’ production capacity.

The device uses disposable mouthpieces and is designed to ensure there is no cross-contamination.

After blowing into the device, it assesses the chemical compounds of the breath to determine whether or not a person is infected. Results are generated by a computer within 60 seconds.

A similar breathalyser is being tested by a hospital in France, although experts have warned the system may be too costly for widespread distribution.

Reuters | SINGAPORE

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