The InspectIR Systems PNY-1000 COVID-19 Breathalyzer has just received emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration, and Vikand is demonstrating the system this week at Seatrade Cruise Global.
Fast and non-invasive
Vikand CEO Peter Hult called the breathalyzer a game-changer for the cruise industry in that infections can be detected in only three minutes, reducing the time taken to test large numbers of passengers and crew. As well, it is non-invasive.
Each PNY-1000 breathalyzer can test up to 20 people per hour using an instrument the size of a piece of carry-on luggage.
'Finally we have an effortless way to undertake large-scale testing,' Hult said. This means the process has been made 'a whole lot easier and more comfortable for those being screened, including even children old enough to blow into a straw.'
'When we began our search for long-term distribution partners in the maritime space, Vikand quickly rose to the top of our list,' said Tim Wing, InspectIR Systems co-founder and CEO. 'We believe the PNY-1000, when partnered with Vikand’s maritime expertise, will revolutionize how COVID tests are administered throughout the industry.'
First breathalyzer ever to receive FDA approval
This is the first breathalyzer ever to receive FDA approval, according to Wing, and it has been a lengthy process — 22 months. Production will now begin, with estimated availability of the first instruments in about 15 weeks.
The system involves a mass spectrometer with 'gamified' software that's easy to use, as InspectIR Systems Co-founder/President John Redmond Jr. is demonstrating to visitors at the Vikand booth (#4223).
Sensitivity and specificity
This is a screening tool, so if COVID is detected, a PCR confirmation would be needed, similar to when an antigen test indicates COVID. The system has 91.2% sensitivity with 99.3% specificity, according to Redmond.
Cruise lines have been reaching out, waiting for the FDA approval, and Vikand's Hult said three major operators are interested.
Long-term need seen
Even though COVID is, hopefully, waning, lines still regularly test crew and Hult said the breathalyzer fills a need especially for ships on longer itineraries. When the disease is eventually deemed endemic, testing will still be vital.
Additionally, InspectIR continues to expand its testing and screening services beyond COVID-19.