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Scientists develop simplest, most rapid COVID-19 test to date

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Scientists have developed a new breathalyzer test and it’s not for what you might think. 

The test is designed to detect the coronavirus. Rather than nasal swabs or spitting in a tube, researchers say this tool is a less invasive and a much more comfortable method to detect infection. But more importantly, it’s almost equally as accurate. 

The device, scientists say, is based on a technique called a nanomaterial-based hybrid sensor array, meaning from just one simple, exhaled breath a rapid and accurate disease diagnosis can be confirmed. 

Researchers from Wuhan, China, assessed the breathalyzer on 49 confirmed coronavirus patients, 58 healthy controls and 33 non-COVID-19 infected lung infection controls. 

Results showed the sensor had a 74% accuracy of infection when compared to the healthy control group and a 95% accuracy of infection when compared to the group with a non-COVID-19 lung condition. 

“The proposed method can be considered as a platform that could be applied for any other disease infection with proper modification to the artificial intelligence,” authors write in the paper. “And would therefore be available to serve as a diagnostic tool in case of a new disease outbreak.”

News 8’s medical reporter, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Gillis, D.Ed., is a classically trained medical physiologist and biobehavioral research scientist. She has been a health, medical and science reporter for over 5 years. Her work has been featured in national media outlets. You can follow her on Instagram @reportergillis and Facebook @DrMaryGillis.