Israeli startup NanoScent has developed a new test that uses nanoscale sensors to “smell” the pathogen that identifies COVID-19 carriers. The Israeli Innovation Authority and the Health Ministry helped to fund the design and development of this innovative testing kit.
The kit is composed of a disposable piece that connects to the nose, which is manufactured by Netafim, an Israeli company, along with electronic components manufactured by DreamTech, a South Korean company. Together, these elements work to sniff out a coronavirus patient within 30 seconds, and the results show a success rate of 90%.
How does the NanoScent kit work? Vapors are emitted by the decomposition process that occurs when the COVID-19 contagion enters the host’s nose or pharynx, and the device absorbs these vapors. This means that the kit can also identify asymptomatic coronavirus carriers – as soon as four days after the initial infection.
To test the pilot product, Sheba Medical Center has used it among dozens of patients. It has also been tested at several Magen David Adom drive-in test stations, as well as at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, and at Poriya Hospital in Tiberias.
The NanoScent test is not intended to replace the current swab-based diagnosis of the virus, but rather to provide an initial indication of infection. It is designed to serve a function that’s similar – yet more accurate – to the current temperature checks performed before entry to crowded places. For example, the testing kit can be utilized at airports, offices, stadiums, schools and campuses, and cultural institutions.
Thus far, several major international companies have already expressed interest in purchasing the product from NanoScent.