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

n increase in drug-resistant bacteria. An accurate, easy-to-use and widely available new diagnostic test could improve identification of bacterial respiratory infection in children, reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics and the long-term negative impacts of drug resistance, according to a recent article in Nature titled "Reducing the global burden of acute lower respiratory infections in children: The contributions of new diagnostics."

As a Tech graduate student, Tamera Scholz and her peers developed the solution PneumoniaCheck.

The device contains a plastic tube with a mouthpiece. A patient coughs into the device to fill up a balloon-like upper airway reservoir before the lung aerosols go into a filter. Using fluid mechanics, PneumoniaCheck separates the upper airway particles of the mouth from the lower airway particles coming from the lungs.

"It's interesting because it's so simple," said Scholz (M.S. '10 Mechanical Engineering), who is now an engineer for Newell Rubbermaid. "It's not a fancy contraption. It's a device that patients cough into and through fluid mechanics it separates upper and lower airway aerosols. Through each iteration, it got simpler. I like that I will be able to see it make a difference in my lifetime."

Once the device was developed, Taylor Bronikowski and a group of Georgia Tech M.B.A. students from the College of Management started developing a business plan for PneumoniaCheck that starts locally and grows globally. They used the device as a test case to develop a Triple Bottom Line company in India that could result in financial profits, environmental sustainability and social benefits, such as jobs and healthcare.

"Our goal is to provide better medicine at a cost savings to patients and hospitals," Bronikowski said. "We wanted a worldwide solution, so patients in developing nations can afford it."

Bronikowksi, Ku and Sarah Ku formed the startup company, MD Innovate Inc.,
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Contact: Liz Klipp
klipp@gatech.edu
404-894-6016
Georgia Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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