A breathalyzer for the yacht club bar

Published on April 26th, 2022

Historically, yachting and breathalyzers have not been suitable partners, but that may change with the first US government-approved device capable of detecting coronavirus infections in patients’ breath.

The InspectIR Systems PNY-1000 COVID-19 Breathalyzer has received ‘emergency use authorization’ by the US Food and Drug Administration. Infections can be detected in only three minutes and is capable of testing up to 20 people per hour.

The test, designed for use in hospitals, doctors offices, or mobile testing sites, requires a piece of equipment around the size of a piece of carry-on luggage. InspectIR’s test works by analyzing a person’s breath using “gas chromatography gas mass-spectrometry” to detect five compounds typically exhaled when people are infected by SARS-CoV-2.

In a study of 2,409 people with and without symptoms, the FDA says the device was able to spot 91.2% of cases — and yielded false positives in only 0.7% of results.

As the technology evolves, this may become the first breathalyzer to be used before going into the yacht club bar, rather than when leaving.

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