Breathonix, a spin-off company from the National University of Singapore, said it was working with the health ministry to run a deployment trial of the technology at one of the city-state’s border points with Malaysia.
The breath analysis will be carried out alongside the current compulsory COVID-19 antigen rapid test.
The breath test achieved more than 90 percent accuracy in a Singapore-based pilot clinical trial, the company said last year.
People simply exhale into a disposable one-way valved mouthpiece that is connected to a breath sampler. A mass spectrometer analyses the invisible particles called volatile organic compounds (VOC) in a person’s exhaled breath.
A healthy person will have a different VOC signature from someone who is ill, and different illnesses produce different signatures. The total time from breath sampling to results takes less than a minute.
Any individual with a positive breathalyzer result will need to undergo a confirmatory PCR swab test.
Breathonix is in discussion with several local and overseas organisations to use the system, given its strong commercial interest.
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