Researchers hope COVID-19 breathalyzer will be considered for WT campus

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CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A breathalyzer to detect COVID-19 in less than a minute. It’s the 1-million dollar investment the Texas A&M System plans to roll out on campuses by early next year. It is teaming up with Dallas-based Worlds Inc. to create what they are calling a COVID-19 game changer.

“To rapidly screen a lot of people quickly is such a major game changer,” Rob Gorham, with SecureAmerica at Texas A&M said.

The idea is to have students walk up to a kiosk, take a nice deep breath…

“…empty your lungs through a straw into that inlet and then inside we have what we call our breath capture system that will kind of snatch that breath and put it through an instrument that’s embedded inside for analysis,” Fox explained.

Fox says those analysis would take less than 60 seconds to send to a student’s smart phone.

“This is a screening tool this is not a diagnostic like PCR but that is our goal is to be as close to accurate as PCR as possible,” Fox explained.

“Then if you need to go get the actual physical PCR test because you’ve been detected through a screening awesome go do that,” Gorham added.

Fox and Gorham said prototypes were tested out last week at the Texas A&M campus.

Researchers say they are working to obtain FDA emergency use authorization before beginning mass production early next year. But one of the top priorities is picking which campuses will get the kiosks first.

“We’re going to be smart about how we prioritize, certainly we need to make sure those who need it more than anyone will have access to the technology,” Gorham emphasized.

Considering the panhandle is currently a hot spot area, Gorham said they hope that factor will be taken into account.

” As things gets scaled just like the vaccine it’s got to go to those who need it first and certainly that’s where our mind is going to go.” Gorham added.

In a statement, West Texas A&M officials said: “We share Chancellor Sharp’s excitement about this innovative leap forward in the battle against COVID-19 and look forward to following its development through the FDA approval process and, hopefully, its rollout across the state and country. “

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