October 21, 2020 – Astrotech Corporation subsidiary, BreathTech Corporation, has signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with Cleveland Clinic to explore leveraging Astrotech’s BreathTest-1000 mass spectrometer to rapidly screen for COVID-19 or related indicators.
The goal of the agreement is to develop a non-invasive device that will use breath samples to identify COVID-19 strains, with the potential to provide a low-cost, self-service screening option that could be deployed on a large-scale, the company said.
Researchers from BreathTech and Cleveland Clinic will work together to further develop the Company’s BreathTest-1000 mass spectrometer to include COVID-19 or related indicators within its detection library.
The mass spectrometry based device will be developed to detect metabolites associated with respiratory disease and can potentially screen patients within as little as approximately 60 seconds.
The joint team plans to open a clinical trial with the technology in the coming months.
Dr. Raed Dweik, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute, and his research team were some of the first to identify that unique volatile organic compound (VOCs) metabolites in the breath can be used to detect certain diseases.
“Each person has a unique breathprint made up of thousands of exhaled compounds, which can tell physicians a lot about what’s happening in the body. The advantage of breath testing is that it is non-invasive and non-intrusive. It does not have a dose limitation like x-rays, an amount limitation like blood or saliva tests, or a timing limitation like PCR, blood and urine tests. So breath testing can be performed repeatedly as needed,” said Dr. Dweik.
“This technology has the potential to make COVID-19 testing more accessible and rapidly available as well as to guide critical therapeutic decisions.”