Israeli scientist Hossam Haick, from the Technion in Haifa, led a team of researchers who have come up with a new method for Covid 19 testing. This method only requires that a person breathes into a device. That’s right, its a breathalyzer.
Imagine a breathalyzer that tests for the Corona Virus. Don’t be silly, you say, breathalyzers are for testing drunk drivers. Well if you think about it the concept is basically the same. When someone has had a lot to drink the alcohol in their system can be tested through their breath and saliva. This is how the Corona Virus is transmitted, even in non-symptomatic people. Every time that a carrier breathes out or talks little droplets of moisture are released. So why shouldn’t it be possible to test for COVID 19 in the same way as testing for blood alcohol levels?
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Dr. Hossam Haick is the F.M.W Academic Chair Professor of the Technion Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute. He led the team together with Technion scientist Dr. Yoav Broza. This was an international effort that included the work of researchers from Wuhan, China. The testing device is intelligent nanotechnology (something really, really small) that can rapidly detect the COVID-19 Virus in the breath that we exhale. The study is published in the journal ACS Nano and the technology is to be developed for the market by the company Nanose Medical.
The developers of this new tech conducted tests in China and state that it has a 94% level of accuracy.
If you have seen the recurring footage shown on the news channels of people getting tested for the Covid virus then you know how uncomfortable the procedure seems. I mean they stick two really huge Q tip like swabs into a person’s nostrils. What next, waterboarding? No wonder no one wants to get tested.
The tests are expensive and it also takes a while to get results. This is especially difficult on people who would like to travel abroad for family functions or holidays. Right now if you come to Israel from anywhere in The United States you are still required to self-quarantine for fourteen days after your arrival. While Israel has recently announced agreements with a number of European countries which are popular and inexpensive vacation destinations, America is still out in the cold. And if you go to the USA from abroad places like New York State have their own fourteen day quarantine requirement.
This new device will probably revolutionize testing for all types of illnesses in the future. Think about it: People could someday carry around their own testing devices to find out if they have the flu, something more serious, or just a cold. Ideally, they will be able to have on location testing in every store or airport instead of just checking people’s temperatures. If this works then there will never again be a need to cancel sports events or shutdown all of the movie theaters.
Sometimes the simplest way is the best way.