The technology, which is being worked on as part of a project known as TOXI-Triage, uses “breath signatures” to “quickly distinguish Covid-19 from other respiratory diseases”.
A non-invasive breath test for Covid-19 that provides “within a minute” results is being developed by British scientists.
The scientists are currently developing a test where people simply have to inhale instead of having an invasive smear test.
“We are delighted to be working with NHS officials in Scotland, Dortmund Hospital in Germany and Loughborough University to develop a minimally invasive test that gives rapid results – in fact, our results on the TOXI sled were within a minute”.
Emma Brodrick, Systems Application Manager at Imspex Group, a diagnostics company based in Wales that is involved in the research, said: “Currently the two leading tests for Covid-19 – antigen detection and PCR – both use invasive methods of sample collection, which can be uncomfortable for patients and may prevent some from getting a test they desperately need.
The researchers said their results, published in The Lancet’s Eclinical Medicine journal, could dramatically improve the experience of performing a coronavirus test and “play a role in revitalizing the economy.
The researchers recruited 98 patients for the small study, 31 of whom had the coronavirus.
Paul Thomas, Professor of Analytical Science at Loughborough University Chemistry Faculty, said the team was encouraged by the results, but that more data were needed to develop the test.
He said: “If it proves reliable, it will provide the means for rapid identification or exclusion of Covid-19 in emergency or primary care settings, which will protect healthcare workers, improve patient management and reduce the spread of Covid-19.
said Santi Dominguez, Chief Executive Officer of the Imspex Group: “The Imspex Group is very pleased that our breakthrough technology has delivered these exciting results.
Their goal was to identify the biomarkers present in the breath of a Covid-19 sufferer and to distinguish these signatures from other respiratory infections.
“Not only do they have the potential to dramatically improve people’s experience of performing a Covid-19 test, but also to help revive the economy, for example by rapidly screening large numbers of people at airports and other transportation hubs.
“What will be needed now is the rapid acquisition of further data to further develop the test and the support of institutions and investors to expand our manufacturing capacity”.