Washington University in St. Louis scientists have developed a groundbreaking breath test that could revolutionize the diagnosis of COVID-19. The test, which only requires one or two breaths, provides results in less than a minute, making it a quick and efficient method for identifying infected individuals. This significant development was published in the journal ACS Sensors.

The potential of the breath test as a diagnostic tool for COVID-19 in doctors’ offices and screening people at public events was highlighted in the study. The test could also play a crucial role in preventing outbreaks in situations where people live or interact in close quarters.

One of the key advantages of the breath test is that it eliminates the need for nasal swabs and waiting for results, unlike traditional home tests. The device utilizes an electrochemical biosensor adapted from an Alzheimer’s disease technology to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus.

The researchers behind this innovation also believe that the breath test can be modified to identify other viruses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). They are confident that a biodetector for newly emerging pathogens can be developed within just two weeks of receiving samples.

The device, which is produced using 3D printers, has undergone rigorous testing in both laboratory settings and the Washington University Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit. Initial clinical trials demonstrated accurate results without any false negatives after just two breaths.

Further clinical studies are currently underway to optimize and test the device on both COVID-positive and COVID-negative individuals. Excitingly, the breath test successfully detected various strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including the original strain and the omicron variant.

To expand the availability of this groundbreaking test, the researchers are planning to deploy the device in clinics beyond Washington University’s research unit. They have also partnered with Y2X Life Sciences for potential commercialization of the breath test.

In conclusion, the development of the breath test by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis represents a significant breakthrough in COVID-19 diagnostics. With its quick results and ease of use, this innovative test has the potential to transform the way we identify and prevent the spread of the virus.

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