Japanese research team develops COVID-19 breath testing system

Tohoku University and precision equipment maker Shimadzu Corp. have jointly developed a system that checks exhaled breath to detect novel coronavirus infections.

The testing accuracy of the system is about the same as the levels achieved by widely used polymerase chain reaction tests, according to a joint announcement by the university and Shimadzu on Friday.

They aim to put the system into practical use within a few years after conducting clinical research for about six months.

The system collects exhaled breath from testing subjects for five to 10 minutes to examine the water vapor contained in it.

Analyzing proteins and other substances in the water, the system judges whether they are linked to the virus. The system then determines whether the subjects are infected or not, and estimates the risk of aggravation of their conditions.

In their research so far, Tohoku University and Shimadzu have confirmed that the system can detect the virus in breath exhaled by coronavirus carriers accurately.

The system “can also detect many viruses other than the novel coronavirus and, therefore, contribute to the post-COVID fight against infectious diseases,” Tohoku University President Hideo Ono said.

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Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/10/17/national/japan-research-coronavirus-breath-testing/