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Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have developed a breath test for corona that lasts only one minute

The virus samples are collected by a simple breath test or by swabbing the throat and nose * The development is part of the scientific action force to fight the corona virus established by the president of Ben-Gurion University

Corona owl. Photo: Ben Gurion University
Corona owl. Photo: Ben Gurion University

Prof. Gabi Sarosi, Deputy for Research of the Head of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a faculty member in the Electro-Optics Engineering Unit at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has developed a breath test, 'Yinshuphon', to detect carriers of the corona virus COVID-19 within a minute. The development guarantees a high level of accuracy and a significantly lower price than any other existing method. If approved for widespread use, the test may help monitor the carriers of the virus at the entrance to places such as airports, factories and large companies, thus helping countries to restore the economy and economy to full activity.

Promising results of clinical trials conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense on over 120 subjects in Israel, demonstrated more than 90% success of the test, when compared to the results of a PCR test. The research continues these days and during it will compare samples of corona patients with those of patients with other diseases and it will also be checked whether it is possible to locate different stages of infection with the corona virus.

"Already in the first stages of the experiments we received clear results on a significant group of subjects and in high accordance with the simulations we performed and the results of the PCR test," said Prof. Gabi Sarosi. "The research is in progress, we are at the stage of testing the specificity for the corona virus compared to other viruses and a quantitative test to try and evaluate the sensitivity threshold of the system for detecting the amount of viruses in order to know at what stage of infection we can detect the presence of the virus, and to evaluate when the patient enters the recovery phase."

The testing process is very simple: the tiny kit, about seven cm in size, includes a nozzle and a capsule inside which is an electronic chip with a dense array of sensors specially engineered for this purpose. The samples from the breath test stick to the sensors and the entire chip is transferred to the system that scans the samples and provides an answer within 20 seconds of the start of the scan regarding the presence of the virus. The device automatically backs up the results to a database that can be accessed by the authorities, to facilitate the monitoring of the virus' trajectory as well as the prioritization and treatment of patients.

In contrast to the existing biological methods in which the test takes several hours to several days, and logistically complex steps are needed to transfer the sensitive and infectious biological samples to the test centers, the new method of Ben-Gurion University is physical and allows for a very quick result in a few simple, cheaper steps. The new development measures tiny changes that the corona virus creates on the electric field in the dense array on the chip.

The test will probably be able to detect infection with the virus several hours after its existence and the first signs even show that it will be possible to identify the subtype in the corona virus family (for example, the SARS-Cov-2 strain, or COVID-19). In addition, the estimated price for each test should not exceed 50 dollars, cost significantly lower than current laboratory tests. Furthermore, since the test is electro-optical and not biochemical, it is not sensitive to environmental factors that may affect the methods available today.

The new development was created within the framework of the research action force for the fight against Corona established by Prof. Daniel Haimowitz, president of Ben-Gurion University. As part of the establishment, the university diverts research resources in favor of finding solutions to the various problems created by the corona virus.

Prof. Serosi, who developed the new system, said, "We asked ourselves, since the virus behaves like a nanometer particle, with a diameter of about 100 nanometers in terms of its size and electrical properties, whether we could detect it using methods from the world of physics, photonics and electrical engineering. Happily, we discovered that the answer is yes. This virus has a resonance at very specific frequencies, and resonant spectroscopy at these frequencies can effectively detect it."

More of the topic in Hayadan:

2 תגובות

  1. It seems to me that Professor Gabi Sarosi is the brother of Nissim Sarosi.... illusions

  2. Definitely an interesting development - TLS for developers!
    Now we will move from the field of theory/laboratory to the field of action. You can start with a simple local example,
    A flight with 100 passengers lands in the airport from a country where 90 percent of the entire population are carriers of the corona virus, while the effectiveness of the test is "over 9%". All passengers are checked in the border control hall. The tests show that 8 of them are positive. It can be assumed that at least XNUMX or all of them are false positive - who do they decide to let in and who to send back?

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