1-minute, ‘non-invasive’ Covid breath test authorized for deployment in Singapore

A one-minute Covid-19 breath test has received provisional authorization in Singapore, where it will be used to test people coming into the country from Malaysia.

The National University of Singapore’s Breathonix test – which was developed from “cancer detection technology” – can detect Volatile Organic Compounds in a person’s breath to see if they are healthy or not, researchers say, though the test will also be used alongside more traditional antigen rapid testing.

In partnership with the Singapore Ministry of Health, Breathonix will first deploy its testing at the Tuas Checkpoint, which connects Singapore and Malaysia.

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Breathonix’s test was previously trialed at Changi Airport, the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, and in Dubai, and the breathalyzer technology is unlikely to cause any cross-contamination, according to its founders.

“Our breath test is non-invasive. Users only need to breathe out normally into the disposable mouthpiece provided, so there will not be any discomfort,” Breathonix CEO Dr. Jia Zhunan said. “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.”

The test will likely be the fastest in the world upon its rollout and could be a gamechanger in places where fast results are necessary, including airports and borders.

Singapore has recorded over 60,000 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and 32 deaths. According to the World Health Organization, over 3 million vaccine doses have currently been administered there.

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