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September 28, 2020

Vox Biomedical announced that it has received a supplemental award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, to expand upon the breath analyzer technology, which it is developing for the detection of marijuana and opioids, to include a rapid, sensitive and accurate breath diagnostic test for COVID-19.

Vox Biomedical reports the award calls for a biomarker discovery effort to determine the exhaled breath molecular species most suitable for use as a COVID-19 biomarker and methods of capture that can be implemented within the safety paradigm governing COVID-19 testing.

Exhaled breath is a rich matrix of volatile organic compounds or VOCs, originating from human metabolism as well as aerosol condensates and bacterial and viral species suspended in micro-water droplets and inflammatory products. Towards the end of developing a breath-based COVID-19 diagnostic, Vox Biomedical scientists will investigate biomolecules associated with the inflammatory and metabolic changes caused by COVID-19 infection. In addition, Vox Biomedical scientists will consult with Dr. Scott Lukas of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School to determine substance abuse molecules that can be simultaneously captured along with a COVID-19 biomarker in the exhaled breath. This effort will allow future studies to determine the effect of COVID-19 infection on substance abuse communities.

Upon identification of potential COVID-19 breath-based biomarkers detection, efforts will concentrate on breath collection and virus detection utilizing Vox’s current portable instrument design. An FDA regulatory approval strategy for such a COVID-19 diagnostic technique will be developed to aid in the rapid deployment of this diagnostic technique once validation of a COVID-19 biomarker has been established.

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