COVID-19 breathalyzers being developed to detect those spreading the virus

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Your breath is made up of hundreds of gases, and researchers can now use these gases to tell you immediately if you are infected with COVID-19.

Dr. Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs, said: "Breathing is a window into other parts of the body."

It contains valuable information.

"A lot of information about your breathing comes from your body's response to specific conditions, including COVID-19," said Dr. Mangilal Agarwal, professor of mechanical and energy engineering at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

In the medical field, the use of breath to detect things from alcohol to marijuana, low blood sugar in diabetic patients and now COVID-19 is relatively new.

Dr. Perena Gouma has been researching respiratory-based diagnostic methods for 20 years. She said she was a pioneer in the industry. She has been developing a breath analyzer to detect COVID-19.

Ohio State University professor Dr. Gumar said: "This is a portable hand-held breath analyzer. You exhale once, and then you get the answer within 15 seconds."

The device has a selective gas sensor for detection.

Dr. Gouma said: "When these chemicals signal specific diseases or metabolic disorders, we call them biomarkers." "My point, I'm going to look for biomarkers. I will look for biomarkers for COVID."

Dr. Gouma said that now, the device is the first breath test submitted to the FDA, with an accuracy of 96%. However, there is more than one way to develop this idea. The other method is similar to how dogs detect through smell.

This is the idea behind the Hound Lab.

Dr. Mike Lynn said: "What we measure is the substance in the breath, the actual substance itself, the molecular structure."

Hound Labs has been focusing on cannabis breath analyzers, but recently it has also been working on COVID-19 breath analyzers.

He explained: “They blew through the device and there was a disposable cartridge that collected breath in a very unique way, and then the disposable cartridge contained the virus sample that was ultimately used for PCR.”

The process is similar to how the COVID-19 nasal swab PCR test is handled in the laboratory. Dr. Lynn said that he noticed some interesting things through this research.

Dr. Lynn said: “People who have a positive nasal swab will not necessarily breathe COVID-19.” “On the other hand, those who do breathe COVID-19 are more likely to spread it widely.”

Over time, he hopes to develop more data about this idea.

He said: "Super spreaders, there are too many spreaders who really spread this disease widely, while other spreaders are very few and rarely spread," he said.

Researchers hope that this breath analyzer concept is just another tool in the toolbox to better understand the use of COVID-19 in personal use and in larger spaces.

Dr. Gouma explained: "You can use it as a screening tool for airports, sports events, and schools."

Breathing research, there is no doubt that this is the cusp of a revolution. Dr. Lynn said.

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