Soon.. an electronic device that "sniffs" COVID-19


Shafaq News/ Electronic devices may soon be used to identify the presence of infection in a crowded space using body odor profiles after scientists in the UK have tested a so-called "COVID-19 alarm". Early studies by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University show that COVID-19 infection has a distinct smell, resulting from changes in the volatile organic compounds (VOC) which make up the body odor – generating an odor "fingerprint" that the sensors can detect.

Led by researchers from the LSHTM and biotech company RoboScientific Ltd with Durham University, the study tested devices with organic semi-conducting (OSC) sensors, which could potentially be used as a COVID-19 screening tool.

“These results are really promising and demonstrate the potential for using this technology as a rapid, non-invasive test with incredible accuracy. However, further testing is required to confirm if these results can be replicated in real-world settings,” said Professor James Logan, Head of the Department of Disease Control at LSHTM, who led the study.

“If these devices are successfully developed for use in public places, they could be affordably and easily scaled up. They also could protect people against future disease outbreaks, with capability to develop sensor arrays to detect other diseases within a number of weeks,” he said.

The pre-print study, which is not yet peer-reviewed, used body odor samples from socks worn and donated to the team by 54 individuals – 27 COVID-19 positive individuals who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and 27 uninfected individuals.

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