Israeli startup develops breathalysers for hassle-free covid detection
Israel has led the way for tech innovation in the Middle East, and has made great strides through digitisation in agriculture and healthcare among other sectors. The country has managed to vaccinate 72% of its population aged above 60 years, although it faces criticism over some being excluded.
Israeli firms stepped up vigilance against the pandemic during lockdowns with drones and algorithms for ensuring social distancing and contact tracing. The innovation has continued even as infections drop, and a startup from the country has come up with breath tests that can detect covid quickly and in a painless way.
The firm Scentech found that its hassle-free alternative for swab tests, can spot infections with 98% accuracy, and requires people to breathe into a gadget for just 10 seconds. The process uses an ReCIVA device to collect breath samples, separates and analyses compounds in gases, and spots elemental signatures of particles.
Things look bright for the new technique, since FDA requires 91 accuracy for such tests to be cleared. The current swab testing method requires a longer process with collection of mucus and saliva, while the risk of getting false negatives also prevails if the samples aren't secured correctly.
Although producing results during trials took few minutes, Scentech is scaling up its technology to give an outcome in just 30 seconds.
The innovation in health-tech against covid comes at a time when firms are offering devices which people can use for collecting saliva at home, to be tested in labs later. On-the-spot rapid, lateral flow covid tests have also been adopted in several countries, although some scientists have expressed doubts about their accuracy.
UAE's capital Abu Dhabi also scaled up the number of laser scanning stations to spot covid patients within five minutes at the city's entry points. But it also required people to undergo PCR tests, in case the DPI scanners did identify signs of an infection.