Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oral saline spray may slash spread of exhaled pathogens

30.11.2004


Finding could dampen contagiousness of individuals most likely to spread germs when sick



Some individuals exhale many more pathogen-laden droplets than others in the course of ordinary breathing, scientists have found, but oral administration of a safe saline spray every six hours might slash exhalation of germs in this group by an average 72 percent.
The researchers, at Harvard University and biotechnology firms Pulmatrix and Inamed, report results from their clinical study of 11 healthy males this week on the web site of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their work may help decrease the spread of bacteria and viruses responsible for airborne infectious diseases such as influenza, tuberculosis, and SARS.

"We found a sharp demarcation between individuals who are ’high’ and ’low’ producers of bioaerosols, small droplets of fluid exhaled from the lungs that may carry airborne pathogens," says lead author David A. Edwards, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering in Harvard’s Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "Roughly half our subjects exhaled tens of bioaerosol particles per liter, while the other half exhaled thousands of these particles. The number of exhaled particles varied dramatically over time and among subjects, ranging from a low of one particle per liter to a high of more than 10,000."



These results led Edwards and his co-authors to conclude that roughly half the population –- 6 of 11 individuals in their study –- may produce more than 98 percent of all potentially pathogenic bioaerosols.

The researchers found that a six-minute inhalation of aerosolized salt-water solution, often used in the treatment of asthma, can markedly reduce the number of bioaerosol particles exhaled by these "high-producers" for up to six hours. Using a cough machine designed to simulate normal human breathing, they linked the reduction in droplet exhalation after saline administration to increased surface tension among fluids lining human airways, producing larger bioaerosol droplets that are less likely to remain airborne and exit through the mouth. "Administration of nebulized saline to individuals with viral or bacterial illnesses could dramatically reduce spread of these pathogens without interfering with any other treatments," Edwards says. "This work could also point the way to new hygiene protocols in clinical settings as well as enclosed spaces."

It has long been known that exhaled bioaerosol particles constitute an important vector for the spread of infectious diseases, although the work by Edwards and colleagues is the first to suggest that a distinct subset of the human population may be far more likely to spread pathogens via bioaerosols. Viruses known to spread from humans and animals through breathing, sneezing, and coughing include those responsible for measles, influenza, foot and mouth disease, chicken pox, bronchitis, smallpox, and SARS. Airborne bacteria include anthrax, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Francisella tularensis, and tuberculosis.

Edwards’ co-authors include Howard Stone in Harvard’s Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Edward Nardell at Harvard Medical School; Jonathan C. Man and Jeffrey P. Katstra at Pulmatrix; and Peter Brand, K. Sommerer, and Gerhard Scheuch at Inamed. The work was supported by Pulmatrix.

Steve Bradt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.harvard.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>