York scientists are developing a Covid-19 breath test ‘that could allow the economy to re-open’

Dr Aaron Tolley at Aptamer in York
9 Oct 2020 @ 7.35 am
| Health & fitness

Here’s a breath of fresh air in the fight against the coronavirus.

Scientists based in York are working on creating a Covid-19 breath test which could allow people to have a daily test.

The Aptamer Group, based at the Bio Centre in Heslington, says extensive first-round testing of this system has been successfully completed.

Further testing on real Covid-19 virus samples is planned at the University of Aberdeen along with a joint trial involving up to 5,000 participants. Results are anticipated before the end of the year.

Aptamers are artificially created molecules of DNA. Ones developed in the York lab are “highly specific to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, to detect the presence of the coronavirus and provide real-time detection of COVID-19”.

Aptamer Group is collaborating with Deepverge based at Sand Hutton, on the development of the personalised rapid Covid-19 breath test, called Microtx BT.

It is also pioneering a wastewater detection system for coronavirus – essentially a sewer testing kit that can provide an early warning system for localised outbreaks in communities.

Aptamer says a daily breath test for potential infection could work “with a 24 hour Digital Health Pass that could allow the economy to re-open through personalised entry into specific social locations, such as airports, offices and events”.