Coronavirus: detecting the virus in the air exhaled by the patient to be possible soon?

Published by Elodie D. · Published on 31 July 2020 at 17h30 · Updated on 3 August 2020 at 14h35
A quick test inspired by breathalyzer but for coronavirus? CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) scientists are on track to find Covid-19 “volatile signature” vital to detect the virus in the air exhaled. If they succeed, you will only have to blow in a tube, much more pleasant than PCR tests.

CNRS searchers said to be “on track” to succeed in detecting coronavirus in the air exhaled by the patient. Since June, equipped with a mass spectrometer, they analyze the air exhaled by Covid-19 sick and healthy people. In two months, they proceed to statistic process to see which information is different in the air of people sick. You should know that each exhalation includes over “30,000 details per second” to handle.

Interviewed by the AFP, the institute  for research on catalysis and environment in Lyon (Ircelyon) deputy director, Christian George, says “the first outcomes showed we can separate patients from healthy people” but there is still a long way to validate hypothesis and proceed to “chemical speciation” to determine covid-19 volatile compounds and commercialize a reliable test. As a matter of fact, it is important to make sure the differences are specific to covid-19 and not shared with other diseases.

If it works, this breathing-based testing method could mark “the beginning of a new medical diagnosis era”. Quick testing would enable to sort cases out at the entrance of hospitals in the event of a second wave. Moreover, the system could be used to detect other respiratory pathologies.

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