Right now two of the more commonly used methods to test someone for COVID-19 would be to either use RTK or PCR, with the former offering faster but less accurate results, while the latter usually requires a day. Both are kind of invasive as it involves putting swabs deep into your nose and down your throat, which some find uncomfortable.
However, over in Singapore, the government has approved the use of a breath test system by Breathonix, a local startup company. This is similar to how breathalyzers work where the user just needs to breathe down a tube. Through the use of machine learning software, it will then compare the compounds found in the person’s breath against the breath of someone who might be positive for the coronavirus
Given that the results can be returned in about a minute, this will be a lot faster and less invasive compared to current testing methods. It could also be one of the ways that could help open up travel again. Obviously requiring people to quarantine for 10-14 days when they arrive in a new country is troublesome and will no doubt deter people from traveling, so this method of testing has the potential to make things easier and more efficient.
That being said, this doesn’t mean that this test will do away with current tests. Those who test positive through this machine will then be given a PCR test for added confirmation. According to their trial runs so far, the machine was found to have a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 95%. The system will be trialed to screen travellers coming from Malaysia before it is deployed on a wider scale.