Researchers from Johns Hopkins University are developing a novel method of testing exhaled breath to detect infection rapidly after potential exposure to a biological warfare agent. They report their findings today at the 2005 ASM Biodefense Research Meeting.
"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," says Joany Jackman, a researcher on the project. "Its 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 and her colleagues theorized that cytokines might work their way up through the tissue until eventually they would be exhaled through water vapor in the breath, and could be captured and identified.
Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
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