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Easy-To-Use Breath Test Uses AI Algorithm to Accurately Detect COVID-19 in Less Than One Minute

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 21 Jun 2021
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Image: The BreFence Go COVID-19 breath test system (Photo courtesy of Breathonix Pte Ltd)
Image: The BreFence Go COVID-19 breath test system (Photo courtesy of Breathonix Pte Ltd)
A new COVID-19 breath test system detects volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a person’s exhaled breath to generate results within one minute

The BreFence Go COVID-19 breath test system developed by Breathonix Pte Ltd (Singapore) has received provisional approval from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA), and is the first breath analysis system to secure such authorization in Singapore. The BreFence Go COVID-19 breath test system works by detecting VOCs in a person’s exhaled breath that are produced by biochemical reactions in human cells. VOC signatures in the breath of healthy people vary from that of people with illnesses, meaning that changes in VOCs can be measured as markers for diseases like COVID-19.

Individuals screened as positive by the breath test will have to undergo a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 swab test. The system was developed from Breathonix’s cancer detection technology. The breath test system underwent clinical trials at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and Changi Airport, as well as in Dubai.

“The breath test is simple to administer by trained personnel but does not require medically trained staff or laboratory processing,” NUS and Breathonix said in a media release. “A person only needs to blow into a disposable one-way valve mouthpiece connected to a high-precision breath sampler. The exhaled breath is collected and fed into a cutting-edge mass spectrometer for measurement. A proprietary software algorithm analyses the VOCs biomarkers and generates results in less than a minute.”

“Our breath test is non-invasive,” said Dr. Jia Zhunan, CEO of Breathonix. “Users only need to breathe out normally into the disposable mouthpiece provided, so there will not be any discomfort. Cross-contamination is unlikely as the disposable mouthpiece has a one-way valve and a saliva trap to prevent inhalation or saliva from entering the machine.”

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