Everything We Know About The New FDA Approved COVID-19 Test

Positive or negative, COVID-19 testing has played a vital role in managing the spread of COVID-19 and safely navigating the day-to-day of the pandemic. It could be said that a negative COVID-19 test has served as a "golden ticket" for attending school, work, social events, and traveling. COVID-19 testing sites have become a staple in our communities for providing free testing to everyone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are different types of COVID-19 tests, viral and antibody. Viral tests can detect if you are infected with the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, during the time of the test. Viral tests are available in the form of a rapid or laboratory test, the PCR test. Antibody tests can detect antibodies that your body made from a past infection with COVID-19 or from when you got vaccinated (via CDC). With either test, COVID-19 can be detected by a simple swab of the nose. However, according to a report by CNN, a new COVID-19 test may be as easy as blowing your breath.

New breathalyzer test can accurately detect COVID-19

Emergency use authorization was granted on Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release the first-ever COVID-19 test that can detect the virus from chemical compounds in the breath (via CNN). The new test, the InspectIR Covid-19 Breathalyzer, can give results in less than three minutes. The InspectIR Covid-19 Breathalyzer can be compared to the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, making it easy to be used in spaces such as medical offices and mobile clinics.

This new test may raise a few questions, such as "How does this new test work?" or "Is it accurate?" CNN reports that the breathalyzer is able to separate and identify five different compounds associated with the virus that causes COVID-19. In a study, the InspectIR Breathalyzer was able to identify more than 91% of positive COVID-19 samples and nearly 100% of negative samples. The new test gave similar results in a study that specifically tested for the Omicron variant. To ensure accuracy, a positive test should be followed by a PCR test, according to the FDA (via CNN).