Professor Develops Breath Monitor to Detect Flu Virus

Perena Gouma, a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department of the University of Texas at Arlington, explained in a journal article how her inexpensive handheld breath monitor was developed, the university announced.

Perena Gouma, a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department of the University of Texas at Arlington, has developed a handheld breath monitor that can detect the flu virus, the university announced Jan. 31. She published an article last month in a scientific journal explaining how the device works and was developed; the research was funded by the National Science Foundation through the Smart Connected Health program, Jeremy Agor reported.

Agor's article explains that it resembles breathalyzers used by law enforcement: "A patient simply exhales into the device, which uses semiconductor sensors like those in a household carbon monoxide detector. The difference is that these sensors are specific to the gas detected, yet still inexpensive, and can isolate biomarkers associated with the flu virus and indicate whether or not the patient has the flu. The device could eventually be available in drugstores so that people can be diagnosed earlier and take advantage of medicine used to treat the flu in its earliest stages. This device may help prevent flu epidemics from spreading, protecting both individuals as well as the public health," Agor reported.

The article quotes Stathis Meletis, chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department, who said the research shows how UTA's nanotechnology research can have a profound impact on community health.

Gouma joined UTA in 2016 after spending 16 years at SUNY Stony Brook.

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