A nasty swab up the nose could soon be a thing of the past as an Australian company has developed a three-minute COVID-19 breath test that could ultimately be our passport to overseas travel.
Melbourne-based GreyScan is seeking government funding for mass manufacture by the end of the year — and it could be used in airports, aged care and other locations to determine whether people are infectious.
Passengers arriving at Australian airports will be able to blow into a tube on the device before the filter is removed and tested, with results expected in just three minutes.
The groundbreaking Covid-19 test also aims to improve on current rapid tests by showing how infectious someone is, not just whether they have come into contact with the virus.
The test detects Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. It has not yet submitted to health regulators for approved use, but the company's chief executive Samantha Ollerton told The Australian that indications from the laboratory were "extremely promising".
"The breath test works … in under three minutes," Ms Ollerton said. "This is still all laboratory testing, but the results are extremely promising. The next phase for us is commercialisation and mass manufacture. We are doing the rounds, seeking government funding to help expedite the mass manufacture."
If it is approved and rolled out, the test could help rapid screening of people in transit, including at airports and Australian interstate road borders.
"We really can't afford to wait 24 hours [for test results]," Ms Ollerton told 9 News.
"If we really want to let people go about their business … open up the borders for international travel we need to have something fast accurate and trustworthy."
Ms Ollerton added that one of the key benefits from the test is how non-invasive it is.
"The goal with the product is to make something non-intrusive yet accurate and fast and simple to use," she told Daily Mail Australia.
"One of the key issues with current testing is that it involves very intrusive samples to be collected and for many people, especially in aged care, this can be extremely traumatic."