New Breath Test to Detect Pulmonary Tuberculosis

28 February 2010 (Last Updated February 28th, 2010 18:30)

A new breath test is being developed by US organisation Menssana Research to easily detect active infection in pulmonary TB patients by detecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breath of the patient. Menssana Research received a Phase I SBIR grant from The National Institutes

A new breath test is being developed by US organisation Menssana Research to easily detect active infection in pulmonary TB patients by detecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breath of the patient.

Menssana Research received a Phase I SBIR grant from The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to test the feasibility of this idea.

Phase I of the programme will analyse breath VOCs in hospitalised patients at New York University Medical Center and the VOCs manufactured by mycobacteria grown in the laboratory at Saint Vincents Medical Center, New York.

Breath biomarkers of oxidative stress clearly distinguished between the "sick" hospitalised patients and normal controls in the Phase I study.

The NIH/NIAID then awarded Menssana Research a Phase II SBIR grant to validate the breath test for pulmonary TB in a larger multicentre international study in San Diego, London and two sites in the Philippines and Mexico.

The breath test identified active pulmonary TB with 85% accuracy, the Phase II study said.

The US Air Force is funding a new study of a point-of-care breath test for active pulmonary TB that delivers results in minutes.

VOCs are generated by the mycobacteria causing pulmonary TB when grown in the laboratory.