They evaluated the breathalyzer on 501 people in hospitals and airports in Singapore, who were shown by RT-PCR to be negative (85.2%), symptomatic and positive (8.6%), or positive and asymptomatic (6.2%) for the coronavirus. The breathalyzer could at some point be a new tool to lower the quiet spread of COVID-19 in communities, the researchers say.
Reference: “Point-of-Care and noninvasive Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS)- Based Breathalyzer for Mass Screening of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) under 5 min” by Shi Xuan Leong, Yong Xiang Leong, Emily Xi Tan, Howard Yi Fan Sim, Charlynn Sher Lin Koh, Yih Hong Lee, Carice Chong, Li Shiuan Ng, Jaslyn Ru Ting Chen, Desmond Wei Cheng Pang, Lam Bang Thanh Nguyen, Siew Kheng Boong, Xuemei Han, Ya-Chuan Kao, Yi Heng Chua, Gia Chuong Phan-Quang, In Yee Phang, Hiang Kwee Lee, Mohammad Yazid Abdad, Nguan Soon Tan, and Xing Yi Ling, 18 January 2022, ACS Nano.DOI: 10.1021/ acsnano.1 c09371.
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Medical Research Council, Singapore, A * STAR Singapore, limit Planck Institute-Nanyang Technological University Joint Lab and Nanyang Technological University.
Now, scientists reporting in ACS Nano have actually developed a prototype “breathalyzer” that can sensitively and precisely detect COVID-19, even in asymptomatic individuals, in less than 5 minutes.
Xing Yi Ling and coworkers wanted to develop a quick, precise and practical breathalyzer test that would be ideal for on-site screening of big numbers of people.
They checked the breathalyzer on 501 people in medical facilities and airports in Singapore, who were shown by RT-PCR to be negative (85.2%), symptomatic and favorable (8.6%), or favorable and asymptomatic (6.2%) for the coronavirus.
A SERS-based breathalyzer can identify volatile natural compounds in the breath of COVID-positive people in less than 5 minutes. Credit: Shi Xuan Leong and Yong Xiang Leong, Nanyang Technological University
According to professionals, bringing an end to the pandemic will require fast screening of individuals going to large gatherings, such as wedding events and conferences. Even those who are asymptomatic can still transmit COVID-19 to others, making it important to determine and separate them until they are no longer contagious. Now, scientists reporting in ACS Nano have established a prototype “breathalyzer” that can sensitively and properly identify COVID-19, even in asymptomatic people, in less than 5 minutes.
Scientists have actually also developed breathalyzer-type tests for COVID-19, which rely on differences in concentrations of volatile organic substances exhaled by those contaminated with the coronavirus, but a lot of need bulky, nonportable instruments for analysis. Xing Yi Ling and associates wanted to develop a quick, convenient and accurate breathalyzer test that would be ideal for on-site screening of large numbers of individuals.
The researchers developed a portable breathalyzer that consists of a chip with 3 surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensors attached to silver nanocubes. When an individual exhales into the gadget for 10 seconds, compounds in their breath chemically interact with the sensors. Then, the researchers fill the breathalyzer into a portable Raman spectrometer that identifies the bound substances based upon modifications to the molecular vibrations of the SERS sensing units.