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New COVID-19 Mobile Testing Device Diagnoses Infection Immediately via Breath Sample Using AI

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 11 Aug 2020
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Scientists have developed a medical device that has the potential to allow public health professionals to immediately diagnose COVID-19 infection via breath sample and track through a mobile device without the need for saliva or blood samples.

Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. (New York, NY, USA) has licensed the intellectual property rights relating to the development of the medical device from the George Washington University (GW). The device is based on nanotechnology Nanoholes using Plasmonics principles. The surface of the device is covered in a thin sheet of gold that can bind with other molecules, like those of a gas. Once the binding occurs, the wavelength of light bouncing off the surface changes, creating a different color of light. Different gases would cause different shifts in light. The results can be available quickly, and artificial intelligence programs can then classify the molecules that are bound to the surface of the device. The results, including the different classes of the molecules, can then be sent to the cloud by a mobile device, allowing the ability to track the data.

The researchers believe that the modified apparatus, which is as small as a strand of hair, can be coated with a solution designed to bind specifically to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. This design would allow the virus to bind to the surface, thereby allowing for the detection of an optical change that could immediately be sensed by phone cameras when an infected person's specimen is applied. The device would allow communities to build trackable real-time databases of infection and enable people to upload information directly to the cloud.

"These are devices that a public health professional could go out with into the field to administer point-of-care testing, either at a walk-up center or directly in the community," said Dr. Jeanne A. Jordan, PhD, a professor in Epidemiology at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health, who was instrumental in recognizing the potential diagnostic capabilities of the technology. "They're extremely rapid—the turnaround time to having test results is within minutes, and you do the testing right there instead of having to send your sample to a large commercial laboratory with a massive backlog. That would allow these professionals to say immediately if someone needs to be quarantined, and to get the names of their contacts so they can start contact tracing."

"The immediate diagnosis and ongoing tracking of COVID-19 is a critical initiative towards mitigating the ongoing spread of COVID-19," said Mr. Robb Knie, Chief Executive Officer of Hoth. "This device which is under development would allow users to conduct widespread testing and provide instantaneous results through the administration of a breath sample and tracking through a mobile device. Securing the rights to this paradigm shifting technology in the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic is a significant opportunity for Hoth and its shareholders. We look forward to working with the team at GW to accelerate the development of this breakthrough technology."

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