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A better way to diagnose pneumonia
Date:2/18/2011

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a new sampling device that could prevent thousands of people worldwide from dying of pneumonia each year.

Called PneumoniaCheck, the device created at Georgia Tech is a solution to the problem of diagnosing pneumonia, which is a major initiative of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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.

Developed 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, " said David Ku, Georgia Tech Regents' Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Lawrence P. Huang Chair Professor for Engineering Entrepreneurship in the College of Management, and Professor of Surgery at Emory University. "It has the potential to save more lives than any other medical device."

Last year, Ku was asked by the head of virology at the CDC to develop a quick and economical way to diagnose pneumonia, particularly in developing nations where it is a leading cause of death among children.

Ku challenged a group of mechanical engineering and bioengineering graduate students to develop an accurate device for diagnosing pneumonia. 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.

In developing nations, many children with respiratory infections fail to receive adequate care, and the overuse of antibiotics has led to a
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Contact: Liz Klipp
klipp@gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Georgia Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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