The Cleveland Clinic is partnering with BreathTech, a subsidiary of Texas-based technology incubator Astrotech, to develop a rapid breath test for COVID-19, with plans to kick off a clinical trial within months.
The investigational BreathTest-1000 mass spectrometer is being positioned as a noninvasive, self-administered test of breath samples for various COVID-19 strains. The developers envisage that relative to the gold standard for COVID-19 detection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, their product would be a lower-cost, more convenient option suitable for wide distribution.
BreathTest 1000 is based on research into unique volatile organic compound metabolites led by Dr. Raed Dweik, chairman of the Cleveland Clinic. Unique metabolites have been identified in a range of diseases, including asthma, heart failure, and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
"Each person has a unique breathprint made up of thousands of exhaled compounds, which can tell physicians a lot about what's happening in the body," Dweik explained in a joint statement from the partners. "The advantage of breath testing is that it is noninvasive and non-intrusive."
The plan is to develop a test for respiratory disease metabolites that could screen people rapidly, in perhaps as little as one minute.