Photo by the CDC on Unsplash

Staff reports | The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency authorization to the first COVID-19 test that can detect the virus in a breath sample within a few minutes and with a high degree of accuracy, according to a Thursday report from the agency.

The InspectIR COVID-19 Breathalyzer, roughly the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, can produce results in less than three minutes. A single machine can analyze about 160 samples per day. It can be used in doctor’s offices, hospitals and mobile testing sites by trained operators. 

“Today’s authorization is yet another example of the rapid innovation occurring with diagnostic tests for COVID-19,” Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

The device was tested in a study made up of 2,409 individuals with and without symptoms.The test identified 91% of positive samples correctly and 99% of negative samples correctly. Positive tests should be confirmed with a molecular test, such as a PCR lab test, according to the FDA. 

InspectIR expects to be able to produce about 100 machines per week. 

Latest COVID-19 data

In South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month, with Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from April 3-9.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,071 total new cases of COVID-19, with 711 confirmed, and five total new deaths, three of which were confirmed. As of April 9, 108 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and 10 COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated.

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 20.2%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16.4%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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