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 Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>