Science

Scientists develop Covid-19 detection instrument that works like alcohol sensor device

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 21, 2020

The device was found 76 per cent accurate in distinguishing Covid-19 cases from non-Covid-19 and lung infections

Scientists from Lyon, France have developed a Covid-19 test that can detect the presence of the coronavirus by examining people’s breath, Firstpost has reported.

According to the research published in the journal ACS Nano on August 18, the device works like a breathalyser which is used by traffic police to test spirit intoxication.

The study noted that cells infected by the virus emit volatile organic compounds that get exhaled with each breath.

Hence, scientists installed gold nanoparticles sensors that are sensitive to volatile organic compounds.

To test the efficacy of the device, scientists examined it on 49 Covid-19 positive patients, 58 healthy people, and 33 patients with a non-Covid-19 lung infection in Wuhan, China.

The researchers then asked the participants to blow into the device for 2 to 3 seconds from a distance of 1 to 2 centimeters.

The findings revealed that the device was 76 per cent accurate in distinguishing Covid-19 cases from non-Covid-19 and lung infections.

The scientists also noted that their device was effective in distinguishing between sick and recovered Covid-19 patients with an accuracy rate of 88 per cent.

The device is now being tested in a hospital located in France. The scientists believe that the device will be useful in areas with large populations.

Currently, healthcare professionals are relying on the RT-PCR test which is expensive and time-consuming, especially for people living in cities with high caseloads.

Published on August 21, 2020

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