The reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) approach has been widely used to detect the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, instead of using it alone, clinicians often prefer to diagnose the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by utilizing a combination of clinical signs and symptoms, laboratory test, imaging measurement (e.g., chest computed tomography scan), and multivariable clinical prediction models, including the electronic nose. Here, we report on the development and use of a low cost, noninvasive method to rapidly sniff out COVID-19 based on a portable electronic nose (GeNose C19) integrating an array of metal oxide semiconductor gas sensors, optimized feature extraction, and machine learning models. This approach was evaluated in profiling tests involving a total of 615 breath samples composed of 333 positive and 282 negative samples. The samples were obtained from 43 positive and 40 negative COVID-19 patients, respectively, and confirmed with RT-qPCR at two hospitals located in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Four different machine learning algorithms (i.e., linear discriminant analysis, support vector machine, stacked multilayer perceptron, and deep neural network) were utilized to identify the top-performing pattern recognition methods and to obtain a high system detection accuracy (88–95%), sensitivity (86–94%), and specificity (88–95%) levels from the testing datasets. Our results suggest that GeNose C19 can be considered a highly potential breathalyzer for fast COVID-19 screening.

Fuente: npj Digital Medicine