UCLA Professor Leading Team to Develop Breathalyzer-Like Rapid COVID-19 Test

Jacquie Cadorette
May 24, 2020 - 2:57 pm

    A professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCLA is leading a team of researchers to develop a rapid coronavirus test that will work much like a breathalyzer does. 

    The team has receieved a one-year $150,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation, NBC Los Angeles reports.

    Professor Pirouz Kavehpour said, "Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a critical weakness in health care security infrastructure, which is a substantial deficiency in our capabilities to conduct rapid, simple, point-of-care diagnostic and environmental sample collection and testing."

    "The goal in this research is to develop cheap, massively deployable, rapid diagnostic and sentinel systems for detecting respiratory illness and airborne viral threats."

    They are hoping to develop the design so that it will be able to detect other infectious diseases and airborne threats. They have applied for a patent on the design. 

    The idea is that the patient would breathe into the device for a minute while droplets from their breath collect on a special plate that would screen for live virus RNA. It would take about 10 minutes to get results in total.