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Mass Spectrometry-Based Device Uses Breath Samples to Rapidly Identify COVID-19 Strains

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 22 Oct 2020
Scientists are leveraging mass spectrometry technology to develop a rapid, non-invasive device that will use breath samples to identify COVID-19 strains.

BreathTech Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation, (Austin, TX, USA), has signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, OH, USA) to explore leveraging Astrotech’s BreathTest-1000 mass spectrometer to rapidly screen for COVID-19 or related indicators. Cleveland Clinic researchers were some of the first to identify that unique volatile organic compound (VOCs) metabolites in the breath can be used to detect certain diseases.

Image: BreathTest-1000™ mass spectrometer (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)
Image: BreathTest-1000™ mass spectrometer (Photo courtesy of Business Wire)

Researchers from BreathTech and Cleveland Clinic will work together to further develop the company’s BreathTest-1000 mass spectrometer to include COVID-19 or related indicators within its detection library. The mass spectrometry based device will be developed to detect metabolites associated with respiratory disease and can potentially screen patients within as little as approximately 60 seconds. The joint team plans to open a clinical trial with the technology in the coming months.

“Each person has a unique breathprint made up of thousands of exhaled compounds, which can tell physicians a lot about what’s happening in the body,” said Raed Dweik, M.D., Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute, who will lead the Cleveland Clinic team. “The advantage of breath testing is that it is non-invasive and non-intrusive. It does not have a dose limitation like x-rays, an amount limitation like blood or saliva tests, or a timing limitation like PCR, blood and urine tests. So breath testing can be performed repeatedly as needed. This technology has the potential to make COVID-19 testing more accessible and rapidly available as well as to guide critical therapeutic decisions.”

Related Links:
Astrotech Corporation
Cleveland Clinic

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