Developed by NUS start-up Breathonix, the breath test system uses a disposable mouthpiece to prevent cross-contamination, and can detect COVID-19 in less than a minute.
The BreFence Go Covid-19 breath test system was developed by Breathonix, a spin-off company of the National University of Singapore (NUS). It is the first breath analysis system to secure such authorization in Singapore.
Breathonix is now working with the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) to run a deployment trial of their technology at one of the land checkpoints where incoming travellers will undergo screening with the BreFence Go Covid-19 breath test system. This breath analysis will be carried out alongside the current compulsory Covid-19 antigen rapid test (ART).
The breath test is non-invasive. A person only needs to blow into a disposable one-way valve mouthpiece connected to a high-precision breath sampler. The exhaled breath is collected and fed into a cutting-edge mass spectrometer for measurement. A proprietary software algorithm analyses the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) biomarkers and generates results in less than a minute. Individuals screened as positive by the breath test will have to undergo a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 swab test.
The BreFence Go Covid-19 breath test system works by detecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a person’s exhaled breath that are produced by biochemical reactions in human cells. VOC signatures in the breath of healthy people vary from that of people with illnesses, meaning that changes in VOCs can be measured as markers for diseases like Covid-19.
The breath test system underwent clinical trials at three locations between June 2020 and April this year. The trials were conducted in Singapore at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), Changi Airport, and Dubai, in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority and the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences.