Indonesia's AI-Powered Covid-19 Test GeNose Cleared for Public Use
GeNose C19, an instant Covid-19 detection tool developed by Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, has secured a distribution license from the Health Ministry, paving its way for public use, the university's development team said in a statement on Saturday.
Unlike the existing tests, which use blood, saliva, or nasal fluid for detecting the novel coronavirus's genetic marker, GeNose analyzes one's breath using artificial intelligence technology, offering a much faster and cheaper process with comparable accuracy to the existing tests.
"Thank God, GeNose C19 has officially obtained a distribution permit from the Health Ministry and started to get recognition from the regulators for use in the handling of Covid-19," Kuwat Triyana, the head of GeNose development team, said in a statement on Saturday.
Kuwat said the ministry issued the license on Thursday after reviewing the team's application.
He said the project had been backed by the Research and Technology Ministry and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), which would also be responsible for distributing GeNose's first batch throughout the archipelago.
"With 100 units of the first batch to be released, we expect to carry out 120 tests per device or a total of 12,000 people a day," Kuwat said.
A GeNose device analyzes one's breath to detect volatile organic compounds that signify the novel coronavirus infection. The team claimed earlier that the test was up to 95 accurate, similar to the antigen rapid test.
Kuwat said the whole testing process would only take 3 minutes per person, making it ideal for screening many people in hospitals, train stations, or airports.
"Also, GeNose C19 is quite cheap, only around Rp. 15,000 to Rp 25,000 [$1-$1.8] per test. The result is swift, out in about 2 minutes [after taking sample], and do not require reagents or other chemicals," Kuwat said.
Kuwat said he hoped GeNose production capacity would increase soon. Mechanical part maker Yogya Presisi Tehnikatama Industri, electronics and sensors company Hikari Solusindo Sukses, pneumatic system maker Stechoq Robotika Indonesia, artificial intelligence developer Nanosense Instrument Indonesia, and a manufacturer Swayasa Prakarsa has formed a consortium for producing 1,000 GeNose units soon, he said.
That would bump up the county's testing capacity by 120,000 people per day, Kuwat said. "With the capacity to test that many people, it is expected we can find people infected with Covid-19 fast and allow them to isolate or seek treatment so that the chain of Covid-19 spread can be broken," he said.