College of St John Reveals Breath Check Aimed to Detect COVID-19 – NBC 6 South Florida
The University of St John unveiled its role in a pilot program that aims to test student breath and get COVID test results in minutes.
UM agreed to be the first school to participate in a pilot program with an Israel-made COVID-19 breath analyzer that is pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“It’s as easy as a kazoo – you just blow in. And if it works, it will be a game changer, ”said Roy E. Weiss, chairman of the Miller School of Medicine medical division and chief medical officer of COVID-19. “It would allow us to test as often and wherever needed at a fraction of the cost and time of our current nasal swab test.”
High school students living on campus who are being tested with nasal swab and saliva methods were asked if they would like to take part in the new testing methods starting this week.
The test is similar to what the police give to drivers they believe may be impaired.
“We are trying to validate the test by comparing it to the gold standard for COVID-19 detection, which is still a polymerase chain reaction via nasal swabs or saliva,” said Erin Kobetz, Vice Provostin for Research and Science. “It is too early to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of the breath test, but we are confident.”
UM aims to provide approximately 1,000 test results to developers collecting data for testing. University administrators are interested to see if the breath analyzer will be cleared for an emergency. In this way, the FDA has been quick to pursue many treatments to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The university is also looking into the possibility of incorporating the saliva test into its mandatory testing regime.
“We’re trying to see if a saliva-based test improves our ability to screen more often or in greater numbers,” added Kobetz.