Demand for testing individuals for substance abuse and viruses such as COVID-19 will continue to soar, presenting enormous opportunities for businesses involved in sample collection and screening. The problem is that no collection method is perfect.
Blood collection is feared and necessitates trained medical staff. Hair sampling is skewed by cosmetic hair treatments (such as bleaching and coloring) and is plagued with poor retrospective accuracy. There is a relatively high incidence of dilution, substitution, and the addition of proteases to urine samples. (Monitoring the production of urine samples is highly invasive but professional athletes generate their urine samples under the close supervision of doping control officers.) Saliva samples are perilously small. They are also extremely sensitive to time and temperature; the genetic information encoded within saliva can easily degrade if not properly stored.
On the other hand, subjects do not fear having their breath captured and skilled medical personnel are not required. Breath samples are highly reliable. They are also relatively stable over time and temperatures, lengthening their shelf-lives en route to laboratories.
SensAbues has developed a disposable, inexpensive and compact plastic device, called ExaBreath, that captures non-volatile substances in breath using an electrostatic filter. ExaBreath is easy-to-use; collecting related breath samples is quick and hygienic for both sample donors and collectors. Because monitoring the collection of breath samples via ExaBreath is not an invasion of privacy, tele-monitoring can be achieved. When users breathe into ExaBreath, filters capture and retain submicron bioaerosol particles originating from the airway lining fluid of a donor’s lungs. While still being videoed, users can seal, label and post their breath samples to labs for analysis.
Once breath samples arrive in the laboratories, the analysis can usually be completed in about 12 minutes. Due to SensAbues’s patented apparatuses and processes, samples collected by ExaBreath can be analyzed using equipment and personnel currently available in all but the smallest laboratories throughout the world. More than 80 different drugs and compounds have been detected across 25 different categories of substances with ExaBreath.
Over 20,000 ExaBreath breath collection devices have been deployed worldwide. SensAbues is in the process of commercializing ExaBreath for application in anti-doping for sports, law enforcement and post-accident testing in the workplace. To these ends, the Company has entered into an agreement with RCU Labs of Roseville, CA to determine the existence of cannabinoids in blood. Under this agreement, RCU Labs will process and correlate breath samples captured via ExaBreath with blood samples collected by other means. Thus, this collaboration combines the ease, inexpense, non-invasiveness and immediacy of breath tests with the extremely high accuracy of blood tests. SensAbues has also sold modified versions of ExaBreath to RCU and to a university in China for purposes of detecting COVID-19.
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