New RNA-based breath test to detect COVID-19

What is the new Covid-19 breath test?


Scientists at Brown University have developed an RNA-based breath test to detect COVID-19. A breathalyzer that reverse-transcribes RNA from airborne SARS-CoV-2 in breath, predicts lower respiratory tract involvement and is less invasive than alternative testing approaches, report researchers in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

Right, but in English please.

The technology is primarily another way to collect COVID-19 test samples, but as it is measuring the virus in expelled breath. it may be more meaningful than nasal swabs in terms of indicating whether someone is actively transmitting the virus.

The breathalyzer, which they have termed the Bubbler, consists of a tube that someone blows into for fifteen seconds. The tube contains enzymes that reverse transcribe the RNA in viral particles into DNA, which allows for a subsequent benchtop PCR test.

“The Bubbler is more likely to be a better indicator of current infection than nasopharyngeal swabs,” said Dr. Fairbrother. “Another advantage is the barcoding, which enables high-throughput RNA virus testing at a fraction of the cost of conventional testing. The barcode returns a viral sequence that also supports strain identification, which may prove useful as more information is learned about transmissibility and possible strain-specific treatment decisions.”

“Such technology could be useful in restoring service to industries such as hotels, cruise ships, and casinos,” Dr. Fairbrother observed. “There is also an epidemiological benefit to routine testing of air at early warning sites such as transportation hubs and hospital emergency departments.”