Indonesian-made GeNose breathalyzer already sold online illegally

GeNose COVID-19 breathalyzer. Photo: Universitas Gadjah Mada
GeNose COVID-19 breathalyzer. Photo: Universitas Gadjah Mada

It was only a matter of time before somebody sniffed an opportunity to make a quick buck out of Indonesia’s latest COVID-19 screening tech.

Indonesia is in the midst of distributing the GeNose breathalyzer, which was developed by Gadjah Mada University (UGM) and is said to able to detect the coronavirus in two minutes with a 93 percent accuracy rate, for use in public facilities, starting with inter-city train stations in Java. However, screenshots recently taken from online marketplaces showed that the device was available for sale for up to IDR90 million (US$6,420), even though it hasn’t been approved for widespread public use and distribution.

Research and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro addressed the issue this morning, saying that it’s likely the sellers are trying to profit off of the novel tech. The minister said one GeNose device has a retail value of IDR62 million (US$4,423).

“Therefore, if anyone is selling it at a higher price and not through official distributors, that would be regretful,” he said.

It’s not yet known if GeNose was actually sold online or if the listings were a scam. A search for GeNose on Indonesia’s major online marketplaces did not yield any results at the time of this article’s publication.

GeNose is set to be used to screen inter-city train passengers in Java starting Feb. 5. Bambang said other transportation hubs will soon adopt the technology, as well as hospitals, schools, and public service offices, among others.

A single GeNose test will only cost around IDR15K (US$1.07), compared to around IDR250K (US$17.75) for an antigen rapid test or IDR900K (US$63.91) for a PCR test.

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