They were world news for a while, the Leiden company Breathomix. On Thursday they announced that they will be launching a breath test that can determine within five seconds that someone does not have corona. Breathomix therefore receives emails and phone calls from all over the world to see if they can deliver the test. But the Netherlands comes first, because the government has funded the development.
The test is very suitable to rule out corona in humans. ‘With 75 percent of the people who come to the test street, you can already say:’ You don’t have it, you can go home and you can go back to freedom, ‘says Rianne de Vries of Breathomix.
The breath test has been developed over the past fifteen years to distinguish diseases from the exhalation. One percent of the breath contains substances that indicate whether the person has illnesses or viruses. ‘We were positively surprised that it provides a definite answer for such a large group. And that is only a good thing, because I think we have an enormous need for this in the test street, ‘says Geert Groeneveld, internist infectiologist at the LUMC, who is helping to develop the breathalyzer. ‘That way we get a fast flow, so that people quickly have clarity.’
The breath test also gives hospitals more air. ‘The hospitals have more patients and there are also more nursing staff out. If you can give those staff a definitive answer as to whether they have an infectious disease – in this case, the corona virus – they can go back to work immediately. So that quick result could also be important for this group of people, ‘explains Groeneveld. ‘As a hospital, we are very happy with that.’
And the possibilities of the breath test have not gone unnoticed across national borders. ‘We have received a lot of requests from abroad. But domestic companies such as catering establishments, Schiphol, saunas and slaughterhouses have also asked whether we can supply the breathalyzer, ‘says De Vries. ‘We first deliver to the Netherlands and only then to other countries, because the government has funded this.’
From the beginning of November, Breathomix will be carrying out follow-up research together with the Sint Franciscus Gasthuis in Rotterdam, the GGD in Amsterdam and the LUMC and the test will be rolled out.
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