Chulalongkorn University invents device to detect Covid-19 from sweat


A researcher at Chulalongkorn University is working on a portable sweat test for Covid detection.

After the success of "Covid-19 sniffing dogs", that uses dogs to sniff and screen for asymptomatic people infected with Covid-19, Assistant Professor Dr Chadin Kulsing from the Department of Chemistry, at the university's Faculty of Science, revealed that he is working on the latest innovation.

A study of the sample found that people infected with Covid-19 had some chemicals that were very distinct and different from the others. He has developed a prototype tool for detecting odours that are likely to come from aromatic substances produced by certain bacteria in the sweat of the coronavirus patients. This is the first time that Covid-19 has been tested for these chemicals.

The examination uses a cotton swab, held in the patient's armpit for about 15 minutes. The sweat-absorbent cotton swab is then placed in a glass. The glass vials are UV sterilised before they are measured by the instrument. At this stage, the operator takes the appropriate amount of the sample tube and pressurises it into the probe to verify the results.

Tests on 2,000 people found 95 per cent sensitivity and 98 per cent specificity. However, he suggested that If the odour detector shows positive, the examinee should go for an RT-PCR test to confirm the exact result.

Currently, the portable Covid sweat odour tester is still in research and development, but it has been tested. Chulalongkorn University is cooperating with the Department of Disease Control and government agencies to screen for infected people in various communities.