Currently, the so-called “gold standard” for COVID-19 testing is a technique called reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), which is slow, requires an uncomfortable nasopharyngeal swab for sample collection and must be performed in a lab.
The rapid antigen test is much quicker but has a higher rate of false negatives and positives.
Scientists have also developed breathalyzer-type tests for COVID-19, which rely on differences in concentrations of volatile organic compounds exhaled by those infected with the coronavirus, but most require bulky, nonportable instruments for analysis.
Xing Yi Ling and colleagues wanted to develop a quick, convenient and accurate breathalyzer test that would be suitable for on-site screening of large numbers of people.
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