A new breathalyser-style test which will be able to identify COVID-19 'superspreaders' is expected to be released in a few months.
The viable RNA virus assay will measure how much live virus someone has.
It is believed to be more indicative than the standard PCR test which shows whether or not a person is infected with the virus.
Luke O’Neill, Professor of Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, learned of the new development while attending a virtual international conference on testing with people from Europe, China, Japan, India, and the US.
The deputy head of testing from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States was said to be "very excited" about the advances in testing.
She said it will be "tremendous to have", with development of the breathalyser-like test expected to be completed within six months.
Professor O'Neill told The Pat Kenny Show that he believes it could be ready "sooner rather than later".
He said: "We all agreed that PCR tests are a bit too sensitive, they'll pick up tiny amounts of the virus and just because you're positive doesn't mean you're infectious.
"The PCR test is the standard test for positively, if you've had the virus you might be infectious and that's important.
"But a much better test, if you're going to spread the virus, is the viable RNA virus assay and it actually measures the amount of virus that's in your breath that's viable.
"If you get a measure on that, that will be a much better predictor of who's infections and who isn't, especially the superspreader.
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Professor O'Neill said the PCR test is "a bit plus-minus in a way" but the viable RNA virus assay tracks the exact number of viral particles that are in your breath.
He added: "We'll know how many viral particles in your breath make you infectious so it's a much more powerful way to measure this."
Scientists are working "hell for leather" trying to get the viable RNA virus assay going, he said.
Professor O'Neill explained: "While the test is still a work in progress, it is envisaged that it will be used to identify superspreaders.
"It looks as if only one in ten people are spreading, it may be even lower than it was in a recent study.
"So while ten people might test positive, only one of them is actually spreading the virus.
"You would love to know who that person is, so that's what this test will hopefully do.
The Professor said that the representative from the NIH used the example of a football stadium to show how the new test could be used.
He said: "The example she gave is a football stadium, on your way in, you do a breathalyser effectively and then you isolate the superspreaders and the rest can go in and watch the game.
"The superspreaders often don't have symptoms and that's what makes it really difficult."
He added: "We can immediately isolate the superspreaders and that will have a massive impact on the spread then because you're able to isolate the ones that are causing the spread of the virus."