Singapore gives initial approval to a breathalyzer test that researchers say can detect Covid-19.


Singapore has provisionally approved a breathalyzer test that its makers say can detect Covid-19 within 60 seconds, and which the government hopes will speed the rate at which diagnoses can be made.

The breathalyzer was developed by Breathatonix, a company with ties to the National University of Singapore. It will be used to screen arriving travelers at a border checkpoint in the Southeast Asian nation, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Breathalyzer tests are commonly used to test the blood alcohol content in drivers suspected of driving while drunk, and are increasingly being developed to detect diseases. The Breathatonix test analyzes the volatile organic compounds in a person’s breath. People who test positive will be required to take a polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R., test as confirmation.

Breathatonix said it had conducted clinical trials between June 2020 and April 2021 in Singapore at the National Center for Infectious Diseases and Changi Airport and in Dubai at the Dubai Health Authority and the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences. The company said in a statement in October that the technology had achieved 90 percent accuracy in a trial.


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