Dallas company working with Texas A&M to develop COVID-19 breathalyzer test

A new breathalyzer test from a Texas company might detect COVID-19 in minutes or less.

Most people getting tested for COVID-19 up until now have had to endure an uncomfortable swab test and often long wait times. But that could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a state-of-the-art device called Worlds Protect.

It’s the product of a collaboration between Dallas-based Worlds Inc., Texas A&M University and the United States Air Force.

It works when someone uses a disposable straw to blow into the machine. It tests for specific compounds the body generates when fighting COVID-19 and results are sent to the person’s cellphone in seconds.

"You blow at it, you know, for literally like five seconds. Blow at the system and in less than a minute you're gonna get a result, right. And so the goal is to put that on a cellphone,” said Chris Rhodes, the president of Worlds Inc.

Devices have already been deployed to hospitals and Air Force bases. But they aren’t approved yet to medically diagnose someone with the coronavirus. They’re being used more as a screening system to let people know they should get tested.

So far, the company that makes them claims they are accurate and comparable to a PCR swab test, which is the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19.

“The goal is to be diagnostic not only for COVID but other diseases as well,” Rhodes said.

Worlds Inc. is hoping to get emergency approval from the FDA within the next few months.