The Dutch government has begun introducing a new type of COVID-19 test, using a rapid breath test across the country.
In addition to speeding up the mass testing process, this new COVID-19 examination method is being applied by the Netherlands to make the testing process more comfortable. The breath test does not require the insertion of a device into the nose or throat.
After months of testing, the Dutch health authorities have introduced this new COVID-19 test method called SpiroNose. Infectious Diseases Expert from the City Health Service of Amsterdam, Mariken van der Lubben, said the device has proven to be effective in detecting coronavirus in the body.
“If your SpiroNose test result is negative, it is a very reliable result and you can go on,” Van der Lubben told Reuters.
However, if the SpiroNose test result is positive, the individual must undergo further testing using the PCR method.
So far, Dutch healthcare facilities have ordered about 1,800 SpiroNose machines. The Netherlands plans to start implementing the SpiroNose COVID-19 test at testing facilities across the country in the next few months.
“It’s a promising technology, especially because of its speed; you can get a test result in a minute,” said Belgian Virologist Marc Van Ranst.
Ranst believes that SpiroNose can change the coronavirus screening process. “It changes the mechanism. If you can diagnose quickly or rule out the infection within a minute,” Ranst said.
“However, we do not yet have sufficient evidence to firmly say this machine is the future, that this is the way to end the pandemic,” he added.
Comparison of the rate of effectiveness of the SpiroNose test with PCR should also be considered in terms of whether the breath test can detect differences between the various virus strains.
The SpiroNose technology is made by the Dutch healthcare technology company Breathomix. The company initially developed a machine to detect asthma and lung cancer. However, the company says it has collected enough data to allow its technological machines to detect the coronavirus.
“In the last few months, we have measured thousands of patients with COVID-19 and people who are not infected so we know what the average breath profile of people with and without the virus is,” said Breathomix Executive Leader, Rianne de Vries.
De Vries said his company was exploring options to operate SpiroNose machines in companies or schools to create a safe environment from COVID-19. He emphasised that this technology is not an excuse to relax the health protocols that have been implemented.
Photo credits Dutchreview