Loughborough researchers have identified a ‘non-invasive’ breath test that provides instant COVID-19 results alongside the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Germany’s Klinikum Dortumnd Hospital.

First demonstrated by a team at G.A.S.Gmbh on their TOXI-Triage project, ‘breath signatures’ can be used to identify COVID-19 from other respiratory conditions.

98 patients took part in the testing, where Gas Chromatography was used to separate and diagnose the 31 patients who had COVID. The patients only gave a ‘single breath-sample’ which identified aldehydes, ketones and methanol that ‘discriminated COVID-19 from other conditions.’

Paul Thomas, Professor of Analytical Science from the Department of Chemistry, said “We are hugely encouraged by these findings. Employing tried and tested techniques used during the TOXI-Triage project, suggests that COVID-19 may be rapidly distinguished from other respiratory conditions.

“To develop this technique further larger studies are required … to build on the data collected so far.

“If shown to be reliable, it offers the possibility for rapid identification or exclusion of COVID-19 in emergency departments or primary care that will protect healthcare staff, improve the management of patients and reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Emma Brodrick, Systems Application Manager at IMSPEX, has spoken about her involvement in the project saying she is ‘excited’ to be developing a ‘minimally invasive test, that produces results rapidly.’

The CEO of IMSPEX, Santi Dominguez, also expressed his astonishment at the possibility of improving ‘people’s experience of taking a COVID-19 test’ and hopefully ‘re-starting the economy,’ emphasising the possibility for ‘rapid screening of large numbers of people, at airports and other transportation.’

To learn more about the inner workings of this the new research, read The Lancet’s research paper on the topic, or visit the Loughborough University website.


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