Coronavirus breath testing stopped after several false negatives: RTL

Health minister Hugo de Jonge launching the experiment last month. Photo: Joris van Gennip ANP
Health minister Hugo de Jonge launching the experiment last month. Photo: Joris van Gennip ANP

Dutch regional health boards are stopping using a coronavirus breath test because of a number of wrong results reported by the Amsterdam region, RTL Nieuws has reported.

The SpiroNose test should have been rolled out across the rest of the country in the coming months. The test, which replaces the nose swab with breathing out into a tube, has been trialled in several locations in Amsterdam since the end of January.

Despite initial claims that the test is extremely trustworthy, a number of people have tested negative for coronavirus but then tested positive using the traditional PCR test. ‘No test is 100% reliable but because we want to be as sure as we can, we are stopping using it temporarily,’ a spokesman for the regional health board said.

The results could be down to using the equipment wrongly and this will get extra attention in the coming days. ‘It could be that an extra test phase is brought in to see what can be done to improve the results,’ RTL said.

Rianne de Vrie, a spokeswoman for Breathomix, the company behind the test, said she was surprised by the health board’s reaction. ‘Our research shows that there is an inconclusive result in less than 0.5% of the tests,’ she said. ‘Our tests out perform all the others.’

De Vries said the test may not have been used properly. For example, there needs to be sufficient internet speed at the test location and no disinfectant containing alcohol should have been used to clean the machine, she said.

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