US regulator approves Covid breathalyzer test that detects infection in 3 minutes

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization for a test produced by InspectIR Systems that collects a breath sample and analyzes it for chemical compounds associated with COVID-19 infections. 19. According to InspectIR, the test is performed by exhaling into a tube like blowing up a balloon and the process takes just three minutes to produce results.

According to the US drug regulator, the test correctly identified 91.2% of positive COVID-19 cases and 99.3% of negative COVID cases in a study of 2,409 people. A follow-up study focused on the Omicron variant produced similar results, USA Today reported.

The test instrument is as big as a carry-on and the devices can be installed in doctors’ offices, hospitals and other testing sites. The FDA has advised that a positive test result be followed up with molecular testing.


The company expects to produce about 100 instruments per week that can evaluate about 160 samples per day, according to InspectIR. This would increase the United States’ testing capacity to 64,000 samples per month.

How it works?

The InspectIR Breathalyzer uses gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to detect compounds associated with COVID-19 infection. This technique is used to analyze chemicals used in a wide range of fields, from monitoring food contamination to measuring the atmosphere of Venus. According to a report by Forbes, the breathalyzer can also be used to detect chemical markers of influenza infection.

Countries like Singapore and the Netherlands have already experimented with similar technologies. Singapore has licensed the BreFence Go COVID breath test from local start-up Breathonix, while the SpiroNose device has been rolled out in the Netherlands.


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