A more effective and efficient COVID-19 testing called Breathalyzer originated from Frisco and it is receiving support and authorization according to an NBC 5 DFW article from April 20. They say,
“The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued an emergency use authorization for what it said is the first device that can detect COVID-19 in breath samples.
The idea started as a breath test for THC in cannabis, but then the company behind it, Frisco-based InspectIR, pivoted to testing for coronavirus at the start of the pandemic.
The test works by simply breathing into it and it will detect chemicals associated with coronavirus.
If it’s positive you’ll be advised to get the gold standard PCR test.”
While research and development are still ongoing, the company is looking at Breathalyzer being conveniently used by everyday people, not just operated by health care professionals according to a Time article from April 19 which reports,
“The test needs to be overseen by a health care professional, so would have to conducted at a clinic or mobile testing site. The instrument does the chemical analysis, and the data is then analyzed by InspectIR, which reports the results back to the health care provider. The FDA authorization also requires that the positive results get reported to state health departments; while the positive results aren’t confirmed cases, they can be useful in helping states determine when and where cases might be increasing.
For now, because a health care professional oversees the testing, the instrument is likely to be limited to places where mass and quick testing are critical, such as workplaces and clinics. Tim Wing, co-founder and CEO of the company, says he has also received interested requests from travel industry groups, including cruise ship operators and hotels.
But a hand-held breathalyzer test for COVID-19 could have wider use in settings such as workplaces, school, and sports or entertainment venues, where its mobility could help test more people quicker. To that end, other researchers are working on a hand-held device similar to the ones law enforcement officers carry to detect alcohol among drivers. University of Texas at Dallas bioengineer Shalini Prasad developed one that connects to an app that provides results in about 30 seconds. Sotech Health, a Texas-based startup that licensed the technology, is currently working with the FDA to earn authorization for the device.
Currently, the Breathalyzer is the only test that utilizes the human breath for COVID-19 detection, making it very important and crucial. As such, InspectIR is being asked to produce 100 test kits a week in the coming months.