Researchers from Brown University in Providence (USA) have developed a test capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in the breath that could complement or replace the conventional swab. The team illustrated the effectiveness of this strategy in a study published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.
The system is similar to the Breath Tests that are used today for some metabolic problems, but researchers have found ways to adapt it to the peculiarities of the viral infection. After the patient has breathed for about ten seconds in a special device, the RNA of the virus expelled with the air and the droplets of saliva is captured and, through exposure to a mix of enzymes and mineral oils, is transformed in DNA. The latter can be easily subjected to PCR, the polymerase chain reaction used for the diagnosis of molecular swabs.
The device was tested in 70 patients admitted to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence between May 2020 and January 2021 and was found to be only slightly less effective than the nasopharyngeal swab analyzed in the laboratory. In some cases, according to the researchers, it could prove even more useful than the swab, since it is more indicative of a lower respiratory tract infection: “Lower respiratory tract involvement is often a precursor to a severe form of Covid-19.” says study coordinator William G. Fairbrother. “So there is an advantage in breath sampling.”
The researchers also demonstrated how the device could be adapted to detect the virus genome in the air, assuming its use in closed and crowded environments, such as restaurants or hospitals. (HANDLE).
Source From: Ansa
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