Hound Labs, Inc. Introduces the HOUND® COVID-19 BREATHALYZER
First product extension leveraging the Company’s ultra-sensitive breath testing technology
OAKLAND, Calif. – September 30, 2020 – Hound Labs, Inc., a health technology company specializing in point-of-care solutions, announced today the creation of the HOUND COVID-19 BREATHALYZER, the world’s first portable breathalyzer to capture SARS-CoV-2 virus in breath of human test subjects. Hound Labs first successfully used the HOUND COVID-19 BREATHALYZER with hospitalized patients in May 2020. The Company’s subsequent research in outpatient settings demonstrated that the most symptomatic people are not always the ones with COVID-19 detectable in breath. The HOUND COVID-19 BREATHALYZER is the Company’s first product extension incorporating the breath testing technology underpinning the Company’s flagship product – the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER.
In early 2019, the Hound Labs scientific team began conducting exploratory research to demonstrate that the Hound technology could successfully be modified to target other substances and markers of disease in breath. In April 2020, based on encouraging results from this research, Hound Labs modified the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER to specifically capture breath samples that would allow for detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus in breath. Breath samples are collected on-location and the test subject self-administers breath collection, minimizing exposure for the Hound Labs research team. Breath samples and a comparative nasal swab are processed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in a local laboratory.
“Our team completed the modifications that were necessary to capture breath samples for COVID-19 in approximately six weeks,” stated Dr. Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs, Inc.
“This not only demonstrates the extensibility of our technology, but more importantly allowed the Company to confirm that aerosolized particles containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be measured in subjects’ breath – even if they are asymptomatic.”
– Dr. Mike Lynn, CEO,
Hound Labs, Inc.
The Hound Labs team continues to conduct IRB-approved research in outpatient settings. Data collected from participants established that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is present in the breath of people who are both symptomatic and asymptomatic. The initial data also demonstrated that the majority of test subjects with COVID-19-positive breath samples were younger than 30 years old. The Hound Labs research supports the notion that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is carried on very small aerosol particles. The transmission of COVID-19 via aerosols in breath has profound implications that may ultimately provide a link to “super spreader” events and to those individuals who are more likely to be “super spreaders.” Confirming the link between COVID-19-positive breath samples and “super spreaders” will require a large-scale trial to validate the relationship.
The Company’s technology comprises both highly efficient collection and ultra-sensitive detection. A 2018 clinical study by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)1 validated that Hound Labs’ proprietary breath technology platform could capture particles in concentrations of parts per trillion or picograms per liter of breath (1 pg/L). While the UCSF research focused on detection of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis), the study also suggested that the ultra-sensitivity of the Company’s core breath technology could be used for measuring concentrations of biomarkers related to other drugs or illness.
“We are excited about the potential of the Hound Labs technology to directly detect biological analytes of interest. Many breath detection approaches only measure secondary analytes such as volatile gases,” explained Dr. Joe Heanue, CEO of Triple Ring Technologies.
“The Hound Labs solution directly captures the SARS-CoV-2 virus rather than a proxy – a capability that is very useful for investigating a wide range of medical conditions.”
– Dr. Joe Heanue, CEO,
Triple Ring Technologies
Hound Labs partnered with Triple Ring Technologies to help develop the pioneering technology.
The first HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER units are on track for availability in 4Q20. The HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER measures very recent marijuana use, providing on-location results as to whether an individual smoked cannabis within hours of administering the test. Interested employers and law enforcement agencies can join the Wait List2.
Hound Labs will continue to conduct IRB-approved research with the HOUND COVID-19 BREATHALYZER. The Company is currently talking with strategic partners to conduct large-scale clinical studies and to co-develop HOUND COVID-19 BREATHALYZERS.
About Hound Labs, Inc.
Hound Labs is a point-of-care medical technology company that combines science and technology in novel ways to improve health and wellness. The Company believes its ultra-sensitive and portable technologies will pave the way to practical and fair solutions for some of the leading public health and safety issues. Hound Labs’ point-of-care solutions include the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER3, which allows employers and law enforcement to identify recent marijuana use rapidly and accurately by testing breath on-site, and the HOUND® COVID-19 BREATHALYZER, which captures breath samples on-location for laboratory identification of COVID-19. Founded in 2014, the Oakland-based company was co-founded by CEO, Dr. Mike Lynn, an ER physician, reserve deputy sheriff, and former venture capitalist. Benchmark, Icon Ventures, Intrinsic Capital Partners, Main Street Advisors, NFP Ventures, and individual investors have funded the Company.
3 The HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER is intended to detect recent marijuana use. It does not measure whether, or how much, a person is impaired. It is intended solely for use in law enforcement, employment, and insurance settings. It should not be used for any medical or therapeutic purposes, or for any Federal drug testing programs, such as programs run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. military.