COVID Breathalyzers Aim to Replace Swabs

Current rapid test options are lacking, so scientists are shifting focus to super-rapid breath tests.

You’ve probably noticed that more and more public places are requiring negative COVID-19 tests for entry. Airports, event spaces, concert venues all have to make sure their patrons are healthy in order to operate. However, current rapid tests aren’t always accurate, they take about 15 minutes to produce results, and they’re in short supply. A recent IEEE Spectrum article discussed the trend of super-rapid tests that analyze breath to test for the virus.

Some of the technologies were developed for different applications, but shifted focus when the pandemic arose. The article examines five different approaches to analyzing breath samples for the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2. Some search for volatile organic compounds, while others sense the virus itself. But they all have one thing in common: they’re better than jamming a swab up your nose!

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