‘Artificial nose’ sniffs out blood-poisoning threat
Scientists who developed the “nose” said it can show within 24 hours whether a patient’s blood has bacteria that cause sepsis, a gain of up to two days over conventional methods.
“The current technology involves incubating blood samples in containers for 24-48 hours just to see if bacteria are present,” said James Carey, a researcher at the National University of Kaohsiung in Taiwan.
“It takes another step and 24 hours or more to identify the kind of bacteria in order to select the right antibiotic to treat the patient. By then, the patient may be experiencing organ damage, or may be dead from sepsis.”
Unveiled at a conference in Indianapolis of the American Chemical Society, the “nose” entails a palm-sized plastic bottle filled with a liquid nutrient that helps bacteria to grow.
Attached to the inside of the bottle is a small array of chemical dots that change color in reaction to the odors released by the telltale bacteria.
The new device can identify eight of the commonest disease-causing bacteria, Carey said in a press release issued by the American Chemical Society.
The device builds on a prototype developed a couple of years ago at the University of Illinois. The earlier model used lab dishes and a solid nutrient material to feed the bugs, which took longer and was less sensitive, the press release said.
Other work in an “artificial nose” has yielded prototypes that can detect forms of cancer in a patient’s breath, and the presence of certain kinds of explosives.
Blood poisoning kills more than a quarter of a million people each year in the United States alone and inflicts treatment costs of more than $20 billion (15 billion euros) annually, according to figures cited in the presentation.
The device “can be used almost anywhere in the world for a very low cost and minimal training,” said Carey.
Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94