NEW YORK -- After two years of sticking swabs up our noses, a less intrusive COVID test is on the market.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-its-kind breathalyzer that can detect infections faster than ever before, CBS2's Christina Fan reported Friday.
Here's how it works: a patient breathes into a tube hooked up to a machine and waits just three minutes for a result.
"For the most part, it's gonna be the easiest and fastest collection method for folks out there," said Dr. Anthony Napolitano.
Dr. Napolitano, who runs a diagnostic testing company Wellstand Health, likened the new device to a rapid antigen test on steroids.
The InspectIR Breathalyzer is about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage. It's 91.2 percent accurate at identifying positive test samples and nearly 100 percent accurate at identifying negative test samples, according to the FDA.
"If you look at a concert or sporting event where you need to move a lot of people through the doors very quickly and you want to make sure that no one has COVID, certainly getting results in three minutes a person is way better than 15 or 20," Napolitano said.
The machine detects chemical compounds associated with coronavirus in breath samples. It can be used in doctor's offices, hospitals and mobile testing sites under the supervision of a licensed health care provider.
The new emergency use authorization comes as COVID cases across the U.S increase. New York is among states with the highest rates per capita over the last 14 days.
Don't expect antigen and PCR tests to disappear anytime soon, though. The company can only manufacture about 100 instruments per week. Plus, if a breathalyzer test comes back positive, the FDA said it should be checked with a PCR test.