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With COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the world, there is a demand for rapid, noninvasive diagnostics. George Mason University researchers Robin Couch and Allyson Dailey, members of the College of Science and the Institute of Biohealth Innovation, are working to answer that call with their research on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for infectious disease detection. VOCs are gases that emanate from a variety of sources, including from humans. Much like a sommelier can smell wine and determine the composition of it, Couch and Dailey have been looking at the scent prints of bacteria. They have been able to successfully diagnose mice infected with biothreat agents using this method, and were able to differentiate standard bacteria strains from antibiotic-resistant strains, as seen in Nature Scientific Reports. Mason holds a patent around the technology on the extraction and analysis of gases through the VOC extraction chamber. When the news of COVID struck the world in March 2020, the researchers embraced it as an opportunity to further test their approach on viruses.