Testing breath to detect infection

March 21, 2005 at 6:52 PM
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BALTIMORE, March 21 (UPI) -- Johns Hopkins University researchers in Baltimore are developing a novel method of testing exhaled breath to detect infection.

The test could be used after potential exposure to a biological warfare agent.

"We want to have a tool that can help in the emergency room or first responders to triage on site so that people who are infected can get treatment first," researcher Joany Jackman told the 2005 ASM Biodefense Research Meeting. "It's not so hard to sample breath from many people very quickly as it is to draw blood."

When exposed to disease causing organisms, cells in the body release proteins, called cytokines, to help the immune cells identify and fight the infection, Jackman said.

The researchers found the cytokine levels in pigs could be differentiated from a healthy population.

The next step is to move into human testing, Jackman said.

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