New device to detect lung pathogens causing pneumonia

Saturday, February 19, 2011

LONDON - Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new sampling device that could prevent thousands of people worldwide from dying of pneumonia each year.

The new device called PneumoniaCheck is a solution to the problem of diagnosing pneumonia.

Pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs, kills about 2.4 million people each year. The problem is particularly devastating in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean, where a child dies of pneumonia every 15 seconds.

Created by mechanical engineering students, graduate business students and faculty at Georgia Tech, PneumoniaCheck will be commercially launched this month to healthcare professionals through the startup company, MD Innovate Inc.

“Georgia Tech created a simple and new device to detect the lung pathogens causing pneumonia. It has the potential to save more lives than any other medical device,” said Professor David Ku of the institute.

Current sampling methods using the mouth and nose are only 40 percent effective. The samples are typically contaminated by bacteria in the mouth, which leads to misdiagnosis and an incorrect prescription of antibiotics.

An accurate, easy-to-use and widely available new diagnostic test could improve identification of bacterial respiratory infection in children, reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics and the long-term negative impacts of drug resistance.

The device contains a plastic tube with a mouthpiece. A patient coughs into the device to fill up a balloon-like upper airway reservoir before the lung aerosols go into a filter.

Using fluid mechanics, PneumoniaCheck separates the upper airway particles of the mouth from the lower airway particles coming from the lungs.

The study titled appeared in journal Nature. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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