UGM's COVID-19 Breathalyzer Test Gets Regulatory Approval
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Health Ministry has granted a distribution license for ‘GeNose C19’, a diagnostic tool developed by researchers at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Yogyakarta that uses breath analysis to detect COVID-19.
The regulator issued its permit on December 24, 2020, allowing the tool to be distributed, as it would help screen patients quickly, the research team’s leader, Professor Kuwat Triyana, said in a statement on Saturday.
With the license approved, the UGM team will begin distributing the first batch of ‘GeNose C19’ tests, which are being mass produced using funds from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the Ministry of Research and Technology.
According to Triyana’s calculations, healthcare professionals will be able to conduct 120 tests per unit, with each test taking three minutes, including collection of breath samples of patients. With the first 100 units of ‘GeNose C19’ ready for release, about 12 thousand tests could be conducted in a day, he added.
"Thus, in one hour, we can have 20 people tested, and the tool can work for six hours, if it is used effectively," Triyana explained.
This figure for testing will likely be realized if the distribution is well managed, including at airports, trains stations, as well as other crowded spots such as hospitals, he pointed out.
“However, we are not only hoping for the increasing number [of tests], but we want more people infected with no symptoms to be found so they can receive treatment or [undergo] isolation; thus, COVID-19 transmission would be halted," he added.
A single ‘GeNose C19’ test will cost around Rp15-25 thousand (US$1-1.7). It will provide results in just two minutes, without requiring any reagents or other chemical instruments, Triyana said.