A California company that makes a breathalyzer test for marijuana believes its device could be used to suss out so-called coronavirus "super spreaders."
"I was familiar with the technology, of course, and it occurred to me that we really should be able to capture COVID-19."
Mike Lynn is the CEO of Hound Labs.
He says it tried its device on about 30 subjects who had nasal swabs test back positive for COVID-19.
It found the virus in the breath of about one quarter of those subjects.
"And this is absolutely consistent with what we know about super-spreaders, where about 20 percent of people with COVID-19 can spread it very, very widely to dozens of people, whereas the other 80 percent really don't spread it at all or spread very minimally. So the, the data support in a preliminary way, this notion that if you have COVID-19 in your breath, you may indeed be one of those 20 percent, if you will, that can widely spread it.
Lynn cautioned that further research and large-scale clinical trials are necessary before the relationship between people with virus detectable in their breath and 'super-spreaders' can be proven.
U.S. COVID-19 testing has lagged behind experts recommendations.
The United States tested on average 650,000 people a day last week, down 5% from the prior week and down from a peak in late July of over 800,000 people a day.
Twenty-seven out of 50 states still have positive test rates above the five percent level that the World Health Organization deems concerning.
The United States reported on average about 35,000 new cases each day last week, down from a July peak of over 70,000 per day.
Nevertheless, nine states have seen cases rise for at least two weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control this week reported 193,705 Americans have so far died from the pandemic.