The partnership will develop a non-invasive technology that uses breath samples to screen for Covid-19 or related indicators


BreathTech and Cleveland Clinic will further develop the BreathTest-1000 mass spectrometer. (Credit: Business Wire)

BreathTech, a subsidiary of technology incubator Astrotech, has reached a joint development agreement (JDA) with Cleveland Clinic to explore rapid screening options for Covid-19 or related indicators.

The agreement is aimed at developing a non-invasive device, capable of identifying Covid-19 strains using breath samples, offering cost effective, self-service screening option for large-scale deployment, said the company.

Under the terms of the JDA, researchers from BreathTech and Cleveland Clinic will work together to further develop Astrotech’s BreathTest-1000 mass spectrometer to include Covid-19 or related indicators within its detection library.

Astrotech, Cleveland Clinic will develop the device to detect metabolites related to Covid-19

Cleveland Clinic respiratory institute chairman Raed Dweik, and his research team were among the first to identify that unique volatile organic compound (VOCs) metabolites in the breath can be used for detecting certain diseases.

Scientists have identified and published studies on the unique metabolites related to asthma, heart failure, pulmonary arterial hypertension and liver disease.

The company said that Covid-19 spreads through droplet transmission between individuals and contaminated surfaces, and the virus remains viable for several days on certain materials.

Rapid and accurate identification of individuals infected with Covid-19 is crucial, as asymptomatic carriers can spread the disease in high density areas in less time, said the company.

The partnership will develop the diagnostic device to detect metabolites associated with respiratory disease and can potentially screen patients within 60 seconds. The joint team will also conduct a clinical trial in few months.

Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute chairman Raed Dweik said: “Each person has a unique breathprint made up of thousands of exhaled compounds, which can tell physicians a lot about what’s happening in the body. The advantage of breath testing is that it is non-invasive and non-intrusive.

“It does not have a dose limitation like x-rays, an amount limitation like blood or saliva tests, or a timing limitation like PCR, blood and urine tests. So breath testing can be performed repeatedly as needed.

“This technology has the potential to make COVID-19 testing more accessible and rapidly available as well as to guide critical therapeutic decisions.”