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This new device can ‘smell’ COVID with up to 100% accuracy

The Coronavirus has continued to take a toll to many people all over the world. Thankfully, after more than a year after the initial viral outbreak, technology has caught up and combatants have been developed such as vaccines, PCR tests, and so on.

On that note, a new device is being developed that can supposedly detect the unique odor of the COVID-19 virus with between 98% to 100% accuracy.

voc analyzer odor
Via RoboScientific

Research by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and by biotech company RoboScientific Ltd. showed that a device fitted with 12 organic semi-conducting (OSC) sensors could differentiate between those infected and those uninfected by the virus.

Specifically, the study used odor samples from the worn socks of 54 subjects – 27 infected and 27 uninfected. They were analyzed by RoboScientific’s 307B VOC model, which was fitted with 12 OSC sensors.

The sensors were able to capture the odor profile of the samples, and were able to distinguish between the infected and uninfected with 99% accuracy on only the first day of testing. On the second day, the results came in with an incredible 100% accuracy.

Professor James Logan who led the study, had this to say about the results. “These results are really promising and demonstrate the potential for using this technology as a rapid, non-invasive test with incredible accuracy.”

The professor acknowledged that there is still a need for more testing:

“However, further testing is required to confirm if these results can be replicated in real-world settings.”

The biotech company RoboScientific is exploring the possibility of developing two devices based on these findings: a handheld and a room-based device.

The handheld device could detect if a person has COVID through their body odor, and could be used in place of PCR and LFT testing as a faster way to determine if a person is infected.


roboscientific one odor
Via RoboScientific


The room-based device would be used in crowded settings like classrooms or airplanes. It would be ceiling mounted, but could only detect the presence of the virus and not the exact person with the virus. It would not replace PCR and LFT testing, but could serve as a way to aid in such testing.


roboscientific two odor
Via RoboScientific


The idea of COVID detectors that can technically ‘smell’ the virus is incredible, and sounds like something ripped straight off a sci-fi movie. However, with this new research, this idea is not too far-fetched. With more research and with further technological advancements, virus detection can be much faster, more accurate, and certainly more effective.




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