Could FeNO breath testing provide an early indicator of Covid-19?

MedTech company, Bedfont, responds to the urgent call for innovations to help with the Covid-19 pandemic

The Bedfont NObreath is a battery-powered hand-held monitor that measures Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) in the breath and the company thinks it could help to detect coronavirus

After the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, there has been an urgent call for innovation that can help with diagnosis or treatment.

And Kent-based medical device manufacturer, Bedfont Scientific, thinks its NObreath FeNO monitor could help.

Recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA); FeNO is well-established globally as an objective test for airway inflammation and could theoretically be used to screen patients or office workers routinely, or those suspected to have COVID-19.

Increasing Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) levels can be an early indicator as the infection occurs in the upper respiratory tract and can lead to respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, which causes inflammation.

NObreath testing is quick, easy, non-invasive, and the monitor is portable, which means testing can be performed by healthcare professionals in a patient’s home.

The NObreath mouthpieces have been vigorously tested by Public Health England and are proven to remove and trap 96.8% and 95% of airborne bacteria and viruses respectively.

Unlike other FeNO measuring methods, the NObreath testing technique does not require patients to inhale through the device, reducing the risk of cross-infection.

Lastly, the NObreath monitor itself is integrated with SteriTouch technology, which eradicates the bacteria that causes contamination and infection.

Jason Smith, Bedfont Scientific managing director, said the test was being used to check the health of the company’s own employees, many of whom are still having to work from the office.

He added: “As the spread of Covid-19 seems relentless we find ourselves trying to weather the storm, both personally and as a business.

”Being a medical device manufacturer, we are fortunate enough to be in a position where we can try and help.

“Covid-19 is hard to diagnose and we know very little about it presently. However, we know about airway inflammation and so we are testing our own employees each day; and any who have an increase in FeNO of ≥15ppb or ≥20% from their baseline reading will immediately be sent to self-isolate for 14 days.”

Although designed as a diagnostic and management aid for asthma, Bedfont hopes the NObreath could help mass screen changes in inflammation levels so patients can self-isolate early on, helping to reduce the spread of the virus.

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