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Health

UK's Integumen unveils prototype COVID-19 breath test

LONDON (Reuters) - Integumen, a British company that developed a system to detect the COVID-19 virus in waste water, said the same technology could be deployed in a personalised breath test that could become an effective tool in fighting the pandemic.

AIM-listed Integumen has formed a consortium with water contamination monitoring company Modern Water and Avacta and Aptamer Group, which will supply COVID-19 binding agents for the tests, to adapt its technology to the new uses.

U.S. group Dell Technologies has also joined to provide data services, Integumen said at its annual meeting on Thursday.

The tests detect the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 in real time by analysing a sample of breath or waste water.

The company has designed, built and tested a prototype device, which can analyse a sample of breath to detect a high load of the virus.

Integumen said the device could be used for instant, real-time testing, with negative results used for a 24-hour digital health pass that could be combined with QR codes to allow entry into work locations, social locations and public transport.

Chief Executive Gerry Brandon said the devices were ready for live virus testing.

“The company believes that to enable the economy to re-open fully, the public are going to have to take the responsibility of testing against this virus themselves,” he said.

“By providing an instant real-time breath test with a digital reader platform, and combined with appropriately priced products, we can drive a consumer-led duty of care for personal COVID-19 responsibility.”

Both the breathe and the waste water devices would be tested with real COVID-19 virus samples at the University of Aberdeen, it said.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Nick Macfie

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