Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Second Covid-19 breathalyser system approved in Singapore

SINGAPORE – A breath test that can accurately detect Covid-19 within two minutes has received provisional authorisation from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA), according to the authority’s website.

This is the second such system to receive HSA’s provisional authorisation.

Developed by local medical technology firm Silver Factory Technology, the TracieX breathalyser has been shown to be almost as accurate as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

Silver Factory was founded in January last year as a spin-off from Nanyang Technological University.

These fast tests will facilitate safe travel arrangements and screenings at large-scale events.

Compared with PCR tests – the gold standard for testing – the disposable breathalyser’s sensitivity rate was previously reported to be over 95 per cent, and its specificity, more than 99 per cent. Sensitivity refers to a test’s ability to identify those infected as positive, while specificity refers to a test’s ability to correctly identify those not infected as negative.

It is also cheaper, costing around US$20 (S$27) each.

Earlier in May, a breath test developed by Breathonix, a spin-off from the National University of Singapore (NUS), received HSA’s approval – the first in the country to do so.

Breathonix has since conducted a few thousand tests for its pilot deployment at Tuas Checkpoint. Each test was completed between 40 and 60 seconds.

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