Established in 2020 Wednesday, October 27, 2021


60-second breath test to detect COVID-19
Breathonix is founded by Dr Jia Zhunan (left) and Mr Du Fang (middle). With them is NUS Deputy President (Innovation & Enterprise) Professor Freddy Boey (right). Image courtesy: National University of Singapore.



SINGAPORE.- Breathonix Pte Ltd, a spin-off company from NUS, has developed an easy-to-use breath test to detect COVID-19 within a minute. This game-changing technology, which is believed to be the first in Asia, achieved more than 90 per cent accuracy in a Singapore-based pilot clinical trial that involved 180 patients.

Breathonix was founded by two NUS graduates, Dr Jia Zhunan and Mr Du Fang, and is supported by the NUS Graduate Research Innovation Programme (GRIP), a scheme that encourages the University’s talented graduate students and research staff to establish and run high potential start-ups based on deep technologies.

“Our breath test is easy to administer, and it does not require specially-trained staff or laboratory processing. Results are generated in real-time, making it an attractive solution for mass screening, especially in areas with high human traffic. We believe our breath analysis platform shows promise in changing the tides of this pandemic,” said Dr Jia, Chief Executive Officer of Breathonix.

Non-invasive, real-time diagnosis
Rapid identification of individuals who are COVID-19 positive is crucial for contact tracing and helps to reduce virus transmission. The current gold standard for COVID-19 screening involves a swab test, which may be uncomfortable, and diagnosis using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests can take a few hours.

The revolutionary breath analysis technology developed by Breathonix offers a fast and convenient solution to identify COVID-19 infection. It works by detecting Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) present in a person’s exhaled breath.

Dr Jia explained, "VOCs are consistently produced by various biochemical reactions in human cells. Different diseases cause specific changes to the compounds, resulting in detectable changes in a person’s breath profile. As such, VOCs can be measured as markers for diseases like COVID-19.”



Also on ResearchNews
A new tool for the genomic era





The test is simple to administer. A person only needs to blow into a disposable mouthpiece connected to a high-precision breath sampler. The exhaled breath is collected and fed into a cutting-edge mass spectrometer for measurement. A machine learning software analyses the VOC profile and generates the result in less than a minute.

“The disposable mouthpiece that our system uses has a one-way valve and a saliva trap, preventing inhalation and any saliva from entering the machine. This makes cross-contamination unlikely,” said Mr Du, Chief Operating Officer of Breathonix.

Pilot clinical trial conducted in Singapore
The team at Breathonix collaborated with the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), to test their breath analysis system for COVID-19 detection. In a pilot clinical trial involving 180 patients, Breathonix’s breath test, which uses in-built machine learning algorithms, achieved more than 90 per cent accuracy, with sensitivity (i.e. correctly identify those with the disease) of 93 per cent, and specificity (i.e. correctly identify those without the disease) of 95 per cent.

The clinical trial is ongoing, and more tests are required to further improve the accuracy of the technology.

Next steps
If assessed to be suitable, this breath analysis platform could potentially be deployed in airports to facilitate the recovery of the tourism sector, as well as in places with high human traffic, such as dormitories.

The NUS GRIP team led by Professor Freddy Boey, Deputy President (Innovation & Enterprise), is providing advice to Breathonix to obtain regulatory approvals for their technology and to deploy their system for mass screening.

Prof Boey said, “The novel technology to analyse VOCs accurately and quickly was first developed by Dr Jia Zhunan when she was a PhD student, for early detection of lung cancer. The technology was birthed through NUS GRIP, into the start-up Breathonix, and it is now contributing to Singapore’s fight against COVID-19. This demonstrates the huge potential of Singapore’s home-grown technologies and deep-tech start-ups. NUS is proud of the progress Breathonix has made since its inception, and we look forward to seeing their technology being deployed in Singapore in the near future to protect the health and well-being of the community.”







Today's News

October 25, 2020

Researchers discover how water can affect its own filtration

AstraZeneca, J&J vaccine trials back on track in US

Surprising communication between atoms could improve quantum computing

60-second breath test to detect COVID-19

Cognitive elements of language have existed for 40 million years

A new tool for the genomic era

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collects significant amount of asteroid

Rice, Baylor College of Medicine platform expands cell sorting via fluorescent tags

UChicago scientists reveal new clues into how Earth got its oxygen

A wearable sensor to help ALS patients communicate

Multiple measures boost Covid fight, study finds

NASA works to head off losing too much Osiris-Rex asteroid dust

Stanford materials scientists borrow solar panel tech to create new ultrahigh-res OLED display

Hands-free technology: Exploring the possibilities of 'smart' glasses

UC San Diego researchers use artificial intelligence to predict best approach to treating cancer

Engineers design a heated face mask to filter and inactivate coronaviruses

Simple software creates complex wooden joints

Air pollution drives food delivery consumption and plastic waste



 


Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez



Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the ResearchNews newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful