Just blow and get the result of a negative corona test right away. The Electronic Nose (E-nose) ‘SpiroNose’ will be used by the GGD in the short term to rule out coronavirus infections. Of all people who get tested, the device can rule out a corona infection with certainty in three quarters of the cases. This has been shown by research by the GGD Amsterdam, Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC).
The SpiroNose from the Breathomix company has been under development for a long time. Before the coronavirus outbreak, the device was already used to detect lung diseases. “In recent months, we have successfully investigated how the E-nose can also be used to detect the corona virus,” says Geert Groeneveld, internist-infectiologist at the Internal Medicine department of the LUMC.
Detecting illness in exhaled air
The device detects particles in air that people exhale. The air that sick people breathe out is different from that of healthy people. “The SpiroNose measures ‘volatile organic components’, these are very small particles that are released when we exhale,” explains Groeneveld. “The E-nose analyzes this composition and, after correcting the ambient air, determines whether someone has a certain disease or not.”
E-nose as a screening to rule out COVID
The SpiroNose was recently examined in more than 1800 patients in the test street of the GGD Amsterdam. Of all people who had themselves tested with the E-nose, it could be immediately determined in about three-quarters of the people that there was no corona infection. In about a quarter of the people the eNose could not rule out the presence of the virus, they had to undergo an additional test for this.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) has already ordered hundreds of devices, which will initially be used in the test streets of the GGD. Despite the fact that the test does not provide certainty in all cases, the SpiroNose as a screening instrument must yield valuable time savings. “The test provides a definite answer within seconds, instead of a few days,” says Hans in ‘t Veen, lung specialist at Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland. “This means that three quarters of the people do not have to be quarantined. In addition, the test is much less annoying than the swab, because you only have to blow. The SpiroNose is therefore an important addition to the tests that are currently available. ”