Since the beginning of the Corona Pandemic, testing played a key role in containing the virus. Rapid Antigen Test and RT-PCR were part of the tests. Along with these the Chest CT also showed doctors the extent of the infection and that decided the line of treatment. As time progressed and we came to know more about the disease, newer methods to detect and treat the viruses emerged. This article focuses on the detection of the infection, and how the covid breath test can be very helpful considering the devastating second wave of infections that is taking place right now.
Singapore has approved a locally developed breath test that promises to detect Covid-19 within 60 seconds. It is the first test to receive provisional approval from the health sciences authority. The technology will be put to test on incoming buses and truck drivers at the Tuas checkpoint. The developer, Brethonix is working with the health ministry to deploy the test alongside compulsory antigen rapid tests. People who test positive will still need to take the gold standard RT-PCR swab test for confirmation. Though, the breath tests are expected to lighten the load on PCR testing labs, saving time and money for on-site screening, Brethonix is also looking to roll out the tests to other high-traffic locations like airports and sporting events, but an expert says that more evaluation is needed, reason being that it is detecting volatiles in the breath that are not present in healthy individuals and so if anyone has got any illness then there will be the presence of these volatiles in them as well. If it is required to distinguish people who are sick from those who are well, then this breath test would prove to be useful, however there is a caveat here and it is that if the person is asymptomatic and not showing symptoms or the volatiles are present in very low levels then it would be an issue. The cofounder of this test has said that they have achieved a sensitivity of 85%, meaning the accuracy of detecting true positive cases and a specificity of 97%, meaning the accuracy of detecting true negative cases.
On the whole, such tests could prove as a big help in terms of being time and cost-efficient, and more importantly, as spoken before would help reduce a load of testing samples by labs by a significant amount.