York company developing Covid breath test to ‘get life back to normal’

A YORK-based technology group is developing a breath test for coronavirus – which it says will allow people to receive daily tests and have a ‘Covid-free’ pass to go places.

And the company has also created a smart sewer testing kit that can provide an early warning system for localised outbreaks in communities.

Aptamer Group, based at York Science Park, said it is currently helping to develop a new personalised Covid-19 breath test, called Microtox BT, as well as a Digital Health Pass platform.

The breath test – in partnership with the company Integumen – is intended to offer simple, daily testing for potential covid infections and is linked to a 24-hour Digital Health Pass for each person.

The company said the health pass would show a positive or negative result, creating a personalised pass for entry into social locations such as airports and events, allowing the economy to re-open.

A spokesman for the company said: “Following a successful first-round testing of the Microtox BT breath test, the University of Aberdeen will now carry out confirmatory tests, with a planned trial of up to 5,000 people, to check its performance. Results are expected before the end of the year.”

The exact details of how the test is administered have not been revealed, but a spokesman for Integumen said: “The company believes that to enable the economy to re-open fully, the public is going to have to take the responsibility of testing against this virus, themselves. By providing an instant real-time breath test with a digital reader platform, we can drive a consumer-led duty of care for personal Covid-19 responsibility.”

The group said it is also developing a wastewater detection system, called Microtox PD, to detect coronavirus.

It said that more than 60 per cent of Covid positive patients have shown coronavirus in their faecal samples.

And by sampling wastewater from households, it can provide an early warning system for localised outbreaks and control the spread of the disease.

The tests have shown “positive results” and will now undergo full testing at the University of Aberdeen – with plans for the sewage test to be launched early next year.

Dr Arron Tolley, chief executive of Aptamer Group, said: “This is a significant step forward in the fight against coronavirus and our partnership with Integumen is a strong endorsement of using Microtox PT in virus testing.

“Once the trials have been successfully completed, we will have two significant weapons that are crucial to beating the virus and enabling life to get back to normal.”

The Aptamer Group added that it is also developing a Covid-19 rapid test, that can produce a result within 10 minutes – part of the Prime Minister’s ‘moonshot testing plan’.

York Press | News