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French hospital testing new ‘breathalyzer’ that detects COVID-19 in seconds

A hospital in Lyon, France is testing a new breathalyzer-style machine that can tell doctors whether a patient has Covid-19 within seconds.

The French hospital, Hôpital de la Croix-Rousse, is entering its second trial phase of the new machine after three months of use on dozens of both infected and healthy people.  

Christian George the director of research at the National Centre of Scientific Research at the French hospital stated the new breathalyzer machine will “register the molecules in the exhaled air and then detect the traces of the sickness.”

The implementation of these breathalyzer tests means doctors will have test results instantly speeding up the diagnosis and treatment of infected patients.

The new machines are non-invasive and could phase out the uncomfortable polymerase chain reaction tests which usually require swab samples from the back of the nose and throat area.

Timeline for implementation of new machines

Jean-Christophe Richard, head of intensive care at Croix-Rousse hospital, stated the objective was to have the machines fully operational by the end of the year.

Bruno Lina, and independent virus expert, commented on the machines stating it was too expensive for widespread use, however, goes on to say, “we could see second or third-generation machines that cost less and that would specifically hone in on the markers of the infection that we have identified.”

Read more from Reuters and CBC.

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