Humans give out various biochemicals in various processes in our bodies. Although a lot of these have known to limited, a new study finds this could help us in detecting COVID-19. The biomarkers that come out during the process of respiration are called breathprints. Scientists believe that these breathprints can be key in identifying COVID-19. Moreover, they can also help us diagnosing different lung associated diseases like COPD, asthma, cancers, etc. Knowing the importance of such biomarkers, researchers have developed sensors to identify these biomarkers.
In a study published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials, researchers write about the simplicity of the effect of the sensor. The sensor is called the E-Nose, or the electronic nose, and is made up of plastic and carbon nanotubes. This will enable sniffing out different chemical compounds associated with different lung diseases, and such compounds undergo instant analysis, which gives out results of high accuracy. Researchers say this new design is comparatively better than previous designs with being compact, reusable, and works even at room temperatures. This will enable us to diagnose people with underlying lung disease who are more susceptible to COVID-19, thereby helping the most vulnerable at the earliest.
The carbon nanotubes are small tubes that can form rope-like structures that become incredibly strong. These carbon nanotubes were synthesized using an aerosol chemical deposition. This is then deposited in the form of thin transparent, and conductive films. This technology allows nanotubes to apply to any surface. With greater stability, researchers say it can be used to build powerful exposes in the future.
The trial involved 21 participants, of which twelve had COPD with them previously, and 9 of them were healthy. The patients had them breathe into bags with the sensors inside and quickly sealed. The sensors took three minutes to identify the samples, while it took 15 hours to process the entire information. The sensors were correctly able to differentiate the nitrogen dioxide in the breath of the patients. This helps them to differentiate between patients having COPD from the normal population.
With the proven success, we can definitely see a lot of these tubes implemented in the future. The researchers also say the success is over a small group, and larger trials are needed to establish the complete effectiveness of these tubes. If the breath points of the COVID-19 are known, this will also enable us to definitively diagnose the disease in people. But we need further studies to enable this feature in this e-noses.
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