Indonesia has approved the widespread distribution of GeNose breathalyzer test that can detect the COVID-19 virus within just minutes.
Just over a year since the first case of the COVID-19 virus appeared, the world has seemingly become much more efficient at trying to fight it.
In latest developments, Indonesia has approved the widespread distribution of a breathalyzer test that can apparently detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus within just minutes.
The test – named GeNose – was developed and trialed by the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, and researchers claim that it is painless and only requires that subjects blow into a tube to complete the test.
The test works by analyzing volatile organic compounds associated with the COVID-19 virus, and is claimed to have an accuracy rating of 93 percent. Even better, its developers claim that each test will be estimated to only cost between US$1.06 to US$1.77 (IDR15,000 to IDR25,000), with results appearing in as fast as two minutes.
A helping hand for Indonesia’s COVID-19 fight.
The affordability and speed in which these tests can detect the virus presents a golden opportunity for Indonesia to turn around its so-far poor fortunes in dealing with the pandemic, with testing availability one of the major obstacles.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing – the current global test standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) – is costly and takes longer to return results. Each PCR test can cost well above the US$142 (IDR2 million) mark, which goes well past the USD64 (IDR900,000) cap set by Indonesian health authorities in October, 2020.
And even the more affordable rapid tests are still being sold at prices of up to US$10.6 (IDR150,000) – about ten times as expensive as the GeNose breathalyzer test.
“With the first batch of 100 tester devices that we’re releasing, we hope to be able to complete 120 tests per device, which equates to 12,000 tests per day,” said lead researcher Professor Kuwat Triyana in a press release.
“These estimates are based on the three minutes needed for each test – including taking breath samples, meaning that we can test 20 people in an hour if the device operates for six hours.”
Representatives from the university have also mentioned that plans are currently underway to manufacture and distribute the GeNose test on a much wider public scale, with hopes that the tests will be available nationwide by the end of February 2021.
By all estimates, achieving this target will allow Indonesia’s health institutions to test approximately 1.2 million individuals daily, well above the WHO’s recommendation for countries to test at least 1,000 individuals per every million of its population per week.
However, Indonesian medical experts – while praising the efficiency of the GeNose test – have still insisted that the PCR remain the gold standard for thorough COVID-19 testing as per the protocols set by the WHO.
Originally Published at Mashable