New Covid-19 test analyses your screams

Arthur Greene

A Dutch inventor has come up with a creative new way to test if someone is infected with coronavirus: the person simply screams in an airlocked booth.

Peter van Wees’s method, which analyses exhaled particles from a person’s breath for signs of the coronavirus, is the latest alternative to saliva swabs. These are uncomfortable and invasive, and must be pushed right to the back of your nasal passages.

Van Wees set up his booth next to a Covid-19 test centre in Amsterdam to try out his invention on people who have just been tested.

The test involves the person standing in the airlocked booth and screaming at the top of their lungs.

The scream emits particles of saliva, which are collected up by an industrial air purifier and analysed for the virus.

“If you have coronavirus and are infectious and yelling and screaming, you are spreading tens of thousands of particles which contain coronavirus,” Van Wees told Reuters.

The entire process only takes about three minutes. Van Wees thinks it will be a potentially useful screening tool at concerts, airports, schools or offices.

Testing bodies have been keen to find an alternative to swabs, which is a slow process and one which many, and children in particular, find uncomfortable.

Netherlands’ National Institute for Health (RIVM), for example, would welcome a fast, functioning test that was highly accurate, according to spokesperson Geert Westerhuis.

Picture source: @nbcchicago