Electronic Nose Device Could Sniff and Nip Tuberculosis in the Bud

tuberculosisResearchers from the United States and India are in the process of developing a device that could diagnose tuberculosis in symptomatic patients. The handheld device is known as the Electronic Nose and is similar to the breathalyzer that police use to detect alcohol on a person’s breath.

The Electronic Nose will have sensors that were established in California to track the biomarkers;molecules on the breath that may be used to determine what state a disease is in, which could identify TB. The device’s development is due to the collaboration of California’s Next Dimension Technologies and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation along with Grand Challenges Canada are awarding the researchers with a $950,000, two year grant to continue development and testing on this technology.

The first part of the grant is going to be used for gathering biomarkers from people (especially with people with TB) who live in the areas of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Lead researcher Ranjan Nanda said the device’s sensors are going to be trained to recognize the disease molecules.

The biomarkers hold promise to recognize TB, which could lead to the possibility of the diagnosis being made earlier and an improvement in treatment. Health ministry figures show that every three minutes two people die from TB in India. However, if there had been proper treatment and care, these deaths could have been prevented.  It’s thought that approximately 400,000 people can be saved every year with an early diagnosis, instant treatment and decreased TB transmission.

Nanda said the device would be used to determine TB right away from a person’s breath, which would replace the sputum test, which takes quite time.  It’s the hope that the device would be available in remote areas where TB tends to breed and spread, causing some much devastation.

The India team has already completed the biomarker sampling in Delhi and wants to finish it in three more cities by December 2012. Prototypes are set to be ready October 2013 and the device to be in use by December 2013.

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Posted by on Nov 10 2011. Filed under Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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