While the pandemic is wreaking havoc worldwide, scientists are busy finding a cure, or at least something to stop the spread. It has been months now that we have been under lockdown, but people need to go out and earn their livelihood. So a team from an Israeli University decided to build a breath analyzer that would help us detect Coronavirus in under a minute!
Professor Gabby Sarusi and his team from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev came up with this analyzer. While all current tests checking for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 utilize nose or throat swabs, this Israeli team took a different approach. To make the device work faster, they relied on checking the frequency to indicate the presence of the virus.
Superfast Coronavirus Breath Analyzer
Since the virus is similar to a nano-particle, with the diameter ranging from 100nm to 140nm, the researchers thought of using methods often useful in photonics, physics, and electrical engineering. In their experiments, they found that the novel Coronavirus resonates in the THz frequency. Spectroscopy of these frequencies easily detected the presence of the virus.
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The team was quick to design a hand-held breath analyzer once the method was fixed. They collaborated with the Defence Ministry of Israel to develop this product. It will have a chip with deeply packed sensors that can capture tiny particles from the exhaled breath, and thus find the virus.
In about 20 minutes, the chip can be read by a THz spectroscopy to give results. Even if a person shows no symptoms of carrying the virus, the chip will show anomalies in the THz spectral range. This would indicate the presence of SARS-CoV-2. So this whole detection process can be done in under a minute!
Since the mechanism is in place, the next plan is to install these breath analyzers across the country. They will first put them at ports, cruise ships, and workspaces. Each analyzer will be capable of processing breaths of nearly 4000 people each day.
But before they can set up shop, the team has to complete the validation process. Then the device would need Food and Drug Administration’s approval before finally reaching the common public. FDA has a fast-tracking system for such cases now. So these breath analyzers can probably be accessible to the common public by September 2020.
The new test is just one of more than 50 initiatives funded with grants as part of the BGU COVID-19 Response Effort. These each require financial support, and AABGU has announced its commitment to raise emergency funds, enabling BGU to participate fully in the world’s efforts at mitigation and containment. Contributions can be made online at http://www.
Be it workspaces, or the travel industry, this superfast coronavirus-detecting breath analyzer holds immense potential. Let’s hope they can get the necessary approvals and everyone can benefit from the product soon. Till then, don’t forget your masks!
Image Credit: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev