Singapore authorities have tentatively approved a COVID-19 breathalyzer test that aims to show whether a person is infected with the coronavirus in less than a minute, according to the local startup that developed the product.
Breathonix, a spin-off company of the National University of Singapore (NUS), said it is currently working with the Department of Health to run a trial deployment of the technology at one of the city-state’s border points. with Malaysia.
The respiratory analysis will be performed in conjunction with the current mandatory rapid test for COVID-19 antigen.
The tests would be priced at between S $ 5 and S $ 20 ($ 3.76 – $ 15.03) each, depending on the number purchased, a company representative said.
The breath test achieved over 90% accuracy in a Singapore-based pilot clinical trial, the company said last year.
The Health Sciences Authority website confirmed the approval, which the company said was the first such system to be granted provisional clearance in Singapore.
The system uses disposable mouthpieces and is designed to prevent cross contamination. After blowing into the device, the technology evaluates chemicals in the breath to determine whether a person is infected or not.
Anyone selected as positive will need to undergo a confirmatory COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test, the company said.
Breathonix said it was in discussions with several local and foreign organizations to use the system, citing strong commercial interest. Other countries, including Indonesia and the Netherlands, have implemented similar breathalyzers. Read more
After recording near zero or single digit daily coronavirus counts locally for months, Singapore has seen the number of infections increase recently and include variants such as more contagious strains first detected in India.
Singapore, which reported 24 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Monday, reimposed the tightest restrictions on social gatherings for a month since emerging from a lockout last year in a bid to contain the outbreak . Read more
(1 USD = 1.3307 Singapore dollar)
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