French researchers invent breath test to spot Covid-19 in the air

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A hospital research team in the southern city of Lyon has come up with an instant breath test to tell whether someone has coronavirus or not. The discovery could pave the way for new coronavirus testing beyond throat and nose swabs.

It may be too early to say whether testing a person’s breath for Covid-19 will be a game changer in France’s efforts to tackle the pandemic, but for some researchers, it is a step in the right direction.

“We’re pretty confident we’re on the right track,” Christian George, director of the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the la Croix-Rousse hospital in Lyon told Reuters.

“Two months ago, we still knew very little about this disease, and now, we are starting to get information that is becoming clearer by the day,” he noted.

That information is given out by a new breathalyser: a grey machine, the size of a refrigerator, that identifies chemical compounds in exhaled air.

The contraption is currently being tested on patients at the la Croix-Rousse hospital.

Patients are required to blow into a tube and in a matter of seconds they are told if they have Covid-19 or not.

George and his team have tested dozens of people in three months, 20 of whom had the virus.

Unlike the uncomfortable standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, the new breathalyser is not invasive and provides an immediate result.

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