Rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 is key to controlling the pandemic. Here we report the potential breath-borne volatile organic compound (VOC) biomarkers for COVID-19. Higher levels of ethyl butanoate were detected in exhaled breath of COVID-19 patients (N=10) than healthy controls/health care workers (N=21), lung cancer (LC) patients (N=7) and backgrounds. In contrast, breath-borne butyraldehyde and isopropanol (an efficient SARS-CoV-2 inactivation agent) were significantly higher for non-COVID-19 respiratory infections (URTI) (N=22) than COVID-19, HC, LC patients and backgrounds. Breath-borne isopropanol emission from COVID-19 patients varied greatly up to ~100-fold difference. COVID-19 patients had lower acetone levels than other subjects, except LC patients. The monitoring of ethyl butanoate, butyraldehyde and isopropanol could lend considerable support in rapidly screening COVID-19; and alerting the presence of COVID-19 patient in particular environments.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv