Respiratory infections can be detected with breath analysis

Scientists have created pioneering new technology that allows respiratory infections to be detected via breath analysis.
Respiratory infections are usually diagnosed by a lengthy procedure in which sputum is collected and analysed in the laboratory to identify which microorganism is causing the problem suffered by the patient.
This seems to have changed thanks to researchers at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, who have managed to create a type of technology that can analyse patients’ breath and give a very quick and effective diagnosis of lung infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria that is resistant to many drugs.
The scientists involved have created an automatic “electronic nose” (e-nose) with sensors that can quickly and non-invasively diagnose bacterial lung infections. The e-nose analyse volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the patient’s exhaled breath.
Breath is a complex biofluid made up of thousands of compounds in very small concentrations, and there are no standardised methods for taking breath samples.
Breath sampling had previously been used to detect asthma, sucrose intolerance and abnormal bacterial growth in the small intestine, but has never been able to detect lung diseases.
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Written by

Tamsin Brown

Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at