BGU Scientist Invents One-Minute COVID Test

An Israeli scientist has invented a one-minute Coronavirus breath test which could be on the market within months.

Prof. Gabby Sarusi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba has invented the almost instantaneous, affordable breath test based on spectroscopy, which outputs the positive or negative result in less than one minute – and possibly in as little as 20 seconds.

Prof. Gabby Sarusi is develpoing a One-minute Coronavirus Breath Test

The device, which can test one’s breath – another breakthrough – or use nasal or throat swabs to test for the coronavirus, is still undergoing validation. Mass production may start as early as September.

It’s believed that the device, based on 20 seconds per test, will be able to perform as many as 4,500 tests a day, Sarusi says.

Early clinical trials completed with the Israel Defense Ministry on 150 Israelis had a success rate of more than 90 percent.

When on the market, the test kits will cost around $50, lower than prices for the customary laboratory-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

These new tests will not require a laboratory setting, allowing them to be used at critical locations such as airports, stadiums, and more.

“Right from the beginning of the trials, we received statistically significant results in line with our simulations and actual PCR tests that were conducted in parallel,” says Sarusi, who is deputy head of research at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a faculty member of the Electro-Optical Engineering Unit at BGU.

“We are now validating the robustness of the test and preparing to submit for FDA accelerated approval.”

In a statement, Mark Mendelson, CEO of the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University, said he “cannot express how proud I am of the efforts made by the scientists at BGU.”

Mendelson called Sarusi’s invention “a game-changer.”