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Wow! Detect the flu before you show symptoms

Wow! Detect the flu before you show symptoms
© Rido | Dreamstime.com

Have you received your flu shots yet? The flu virus this season is particularly severe and even members of our staff were out for a few days.

But what if you have an over-the-counter handheld tool that can detect the flu before it happens? This will surely help people proactively fight the virus and help prevent it from spreading.

This is precisely what Professor Perena Gouma of the University of Texas at Arlington developed. Similar to a breathalyzer, the breath monitoring tool the police use to detect alcohol, this gadget can detect the flu by isolating specific biomarkers on a person's breath.

A good thing about this gadget is its projected cost. Gouma's team was able to use low-cost sensors so we may one day see this "flu breathalyzer" as an over-the-counter purchase at your neighborhood pharmacy or in your doctor's office. Anyone could then easily detect and diagnose the flu even before the symptoms hit, thus preventing its distribution.

"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," Gouma told the University of Texas, Arlington. "Now, this technology could be used by ordinary people to quickly and accurately diagnose illness."

Gouma also sees this technology expanding to other devices that can test for other even more severe diseases like Ebola by simply changing its sensors.

"I think that technology like this is going to revolutionize personalized diagnostics," Gouma said. "This will allow people to be proactive and catch illnesses early."

To read more about Gouma's breath monitor, check out this UTA post.

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