COVID-19 breathalyzer test approved for nationwide rollout across the Netherlands

A new method of testing for coronavirus has been developed. As of this week, four test locations in Amsterdam have been equipped with breathalyzer machines that will test your breath for the virus and deliver a result within seconds. 

Instead of a cotton swab up the nose, those who wish to get tested will simply place a clip over their nose and breath calmly into the machine five times.

Their breath is then analysed by the machine’s sensors and a profile is made. The person’s profile is compared with the profiles of those who do, and do not, have coronavirus and a result is given — all within one or two seconds.

Tried and tested

The machine has been tested in Amsterdam for the past few months and has now been approved for a nationwide rollout. Which test streets will receive the machines first and when they will receive them remains unknown for the time being.

However, decommissioned Minister for Health Hugo De Jonge hopes to have the devices available in at least one test location per GGD region.

Not a complete replacement of the nose swab

The breathalyzer will not be able to replace the standard PCR test completely. Currently, it is estimated that the machines will be able to test 40,000 people per day by the end of March. However, the GGD will need to perform an estimated 175,000 tests per day by this period.

A bit of hope

Once the GGD regions have been covered, the hope is that the hospitality sector will be able to make use of the breathalyzer test at the doors of establishments. The test could also help bring workers back into the office.

The test has yet to be approved for use on children but once approved, it will offer a less invasive method of testing. However, for now, the priority is getting the machine onto the test streets. “First it is the turn of all GGD test streets and then we will see what else we can do,” Rianne de Vries of Breathomix (the company behind the machine) tells RTL Nieuws.

What do you think of the breathalyzer test? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! 

Feature Image: Breathomix/Press Release.

Sarah O'Leary
Sarah O'Leary
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.

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