One of the most trying (though not lethal) diseases is the common flu. We all know that it can catch us out of the blue and have us in a mood in no time at all. It also forces us to make those uncomfortable and maybe even expensive trips to the doctor. However, thanks to one professor Perena Gouma, those trips may become altogether obsolete. The University of Texas at Arlington professor just might have created a device that can be purchased over the counter and that can tell if you’ve got the flu just based on your breath.
According to Engadget, Gouma’s device is similar to the breathalysers the police use to determine if you’ve drunk too much. However, this one may be even better since it employs low-cost sensors. These analyse your breath and isolate biomarkers that can indicate whether or not you have the flu.
To make the clever device possible, Gouma used existing medical research into the biomarkers in a patient’s breath when they have a certain medical condition. These would then make up her breath monitor. For instance, if you’ve got asthma, your breath will contain a higher concentration of nitric oxide. Seeing this, the science and engineering professor would then build a device using nitric acid. The little monitor would also contain ammonia sensors to pick up on the virus.
Gouma’s breath monitor won’t just help figure out if you’ve got the flu right from home. The gadget will also detect the illness as well as the test your doctor conducts to find the cause of your symptoms. And the professor has big dreams for the device. She sees her tech being able to someday test for other diseases and medical conditions like Ebola too. She said,
I think that technology like this is going to revolutionise personalised diagnostics. This will allow people to be proactive and catch illnesses early, and the technology can easily be used to detect other diseases such as Ebola virus disease, simply by changing the sensors.”
The newly-developed device could sure be a help in treating illnesses before they get worse. In fact, it could even prevent the spread of diseases at workplaces, schools and more. What’s more is that the breath monitor could be a huge boon even in developing or underdeveloped nations since it’s cheaper than existing tech. Gouma added,
Before we applied nanotechnology to create this device, the only way to detect biomarkers in a person’s breath was through very expensive, highly-technical equipment in a lab, operated by skilled personnel. Now, this technology could be used by ordinary people to quickly and accurately diagnose illness.”
The professor’s brainchild is also cool because it promises to save your time along with your money. Ordinarily, if you couldn’t fit a doctor’s appointment in your busy schedule, you wouldn’t see a doc at all. This could make matters worse. However, with Gouma’s monitor, a busy schedule won’t stand in the way of you getting healthier. The creation is groundbreaking. It will definitely shake up the world of disease detection. It will even make waves if it comes to India. With the promise the tech shows, we can only envision a healthier people after the device’s debut in our country.