Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC) jumped about 250% Wednesday morning after the science and technology development and commercialization company announced that the BreathTest-1000™ is under development to screen for volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites found in a person’s breath that could indicate they may have an infection, including Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) or the resulting disease, pneumonia.
Astrotech claims that its mass spectrometry technology that was initially developed in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Army, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ideal for lung disease testing applications, which are now under development.
The technology was designed to be inexpensive, small, fast and easy to use for air quality monitoring and trace detection of chemical warfare agents, explosives, and narcotics. It has also been certified by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and is now deployed in air cargo facilities throughout the European Union.
“With the Coronavirus pandemic impacting millions of families around the globe, we are now very focused on the development of a rugged, inexpensive, quick, and easy to use testing platform that can be deployed to thousands of point-of-care locations worldwide, if approved. This is an incredibly scalable solution that is very much needed to screen as many people as possible in the shortest time,” stated Thomas B. Pickens III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Astrotech Corporation.
The development of the BreathTest-1000 follows the Company’s announcement on June 15th, 2017, where positive results were reported in pre-clinical trials for the BreathDetect-1000, a rapid bedside breathalyzer that detects bacterial infections in the respiratory tract, including pneumonia. Subject to any necessary regulatory approvals, the Company plans to combine the detection of COVID-19 with the detection of pneumonia into the BreathTest-1000 instrument to provide a near-immediate screening test for symptoms that indicate a person might have COVID-19 or pneumonia.