IONICON analyzers at the forefront of COVID-19 testing research

COVID-19 breath detection is studied around the globe using PTR-TOFMS.

A non-invasive test for COVID-19 with instant results would be a gamechanger in the efforts against COVID-19. Breath analysis shows a great potential for a rapid, non-invasive detection of COVID-19 infections. Follow our journey around the world, where we shine a light on current research projects where IONICON PTR-TOF instruments are deployed fighting this global pandemic by testing breath for COVID-19 in real-time.

Singapore: Breathonix Pte Ltd

The start-up Breathonix has already demonstrated a one-minute Corona breath test in a first clinical study - with impressive results. The preparations for the next steps are rapidly moving forward: “The company is ready to deploy pilots in Singapore in coming weeks and to extend to international pilots in the coming months, pending regulatory approval,” said Du Fang, COO & Co-founder of Breathonix. Ultimately, the breath test should be rolled-out in airports, sea-ports and transportation hubs. It is also useful for sports venues and games like the Olympics.

France: Hôpital Foch in Suresnes and University Paris-Saclay (UVSQ)

The study by Dr. Grassin-Delyle et al. focused on adults undergoing invasive mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit due to severe COVID-19 or non-COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). They performed analyses of the volatile metabolome of the expired air of the patients using a high-resolution PTR-TOF. This study involves a smaller number of subjects, compared to the other projects, but offers highly controlled conditions in ventilated patients. They identified a characteristic breath-print for COVID-19 and could distinguish COVID-19 infections with an accuracy of 93% (sensitivity: 90%, specificity: 94%). Their findings have very recently been published in EBioMedicine.

Germany: University Rostock

The workgroup for breath analysis “ROMBAT” has engaged in a study to employ breath analysis for COVID-19 screening in a real-life setting. "At the Universitätsmedizin Rostock we are applying a PTR-ToF for real time breath analysis in the Corona Test Center to gather information on the potential of breath VOCs for COVID-19 screening in large cohorts.", says Dr. Wolfram Miekisch. Several hundred patients have already been screened.

U.S.A.: Janesville, Wisconsin

Mercyhealth in collaboration with the RJ Lee Group have performed real-time COVID-19 breath test in on more than 1 000 Rock County residents, with an impressive age distribution ranging from 3 to 100 years of age. Comparing to PCR tests as a gold standard, they find a high correlation to the breath data measured using PTR-TOF. Based on these breath biomarkers a COVID-19 breath test would have about 84% sensitivity and 84% specificity. Mercyhealth and RJ Lee Group says the next step is to conduct similar studies at other hospital, including Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and to reach out to the FDA for approval for use as a rapid and reliable screening tool.

Learn more on real-time breath analysis with IONICON PTR-TOF

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