Technion Professor Hossam Haick has taken a big step forward to commercialize his acclaimed artificial nose technology into a breath test for COVID-19.

His company, NaNose Medical, is partnering with California-based BrainChip Holdings Ltd., which makes artificial intelligence chips, to create an easy-to-use portable device for physicians called DiaNose that could prove more accurate than existing PCR tests.

Prof. Haick’s NaNose nanosensor technology can identify signature scents of COVID-19 and other diseases in a person’s exhaled breath. In developing the COVID test, NaNose Medical collected 130 breath samples from patients with and without the virus. That data was then used to train BrainChip’s Akido neural processor to analyze the samples to detect COVID-19. A study from China in June 2020 suggested that breath analysis could be a more sensitive method for accurately detecting the virus than even the gold standard PCR tests.

Moreover, their breath test does not require mucus or saliva samples, making it less intrusive for patients and safer for physicians and lab technicians. And medical staff would not need to send the tests out for analysis, allowing patients to get results before leaving the doctor’s office or test facility.

“Using the NaNose Medical artificial nose and Akido’s artificial brain is a potential breakthrough in accurate, fast, inexpensive, widespread testing with the potential to control outbreaks and reduce this disease’s death toll,” said BrainChip co-founder and CEO Orit Marom Albeck.

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Hossam Haick
Prof. Hossam Haick
Hossam Haick