Israeli companies inch one step closer to COVID-19 breathalyzer test

Scentech hopes to create a device similar to the breathalyzer machine police use during traffic stops to determine a driver's blood alcohol level, only this one detects COVID.

Israeli army Technicians carry out a diagnostic test for coronavirus in a IDF lab in central Israel on July 15, 2020. (photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)
Israeli army Technicians carry out a diagnostic test for coronavirus in a IDF lab in central Israel on July 15, 2020.
(photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)
Scentech Medical, an Israeli start-up that develops noninvasive screening solutions for infectious diseases, has identified biomarkers for the novel coronavirus through gas compounds, Globes reported.
It hopes to create a device to detect COVID-19 similar to the breathalyzer police use during traffic stops to determine a driver’s blood alcohol level.
NextGen Biomed, an Israeli pharmaceutical company that manufactures medical instruments, conducted the trials alongside Scentech and will be assisting in the creation of the breath diagnostic test. Its market value on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange jumped 35% on Sunday after news of Scentech’s successful trial was made public.
Hundreds of respiratory samples had been analyzed at Scentech’s lab using the newly developed technology, said NextGen, which is merging with Scentech. The samples were obtained from coronavirus patients at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and from soldiers.
The results indicated there are gas compounds unique to COVID-19, and this has been backed by several scientific papers, the report said.
NextGen and Scentech hope to leverage their knowledge with the in-house testing performed to be able to detect coronavirus in less than a minute.
The companies intend to run final tests using the technology to validate data gathered through previous trials in compliance with the US Food and Drug Administration and Israel’s Health Ministry. They intend to market their product in both countries.
“We are very encouraged by the success in identifying the indicators and are moving closer to completing initial performance biomarkers and the start of broader research for swift testing using breakthrough technology,” Globes quoted Scentech CEO Drew Morris as saying. “We hope to produce a test that is reliable, significantly cheaper and more rapid than today’s existing tests, including PCR.”


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