A novel breath test, measuring the immune response to the H1N1 flu virus, could help to ease future vaccine shortages by identifying the people who have already been infected with the flu virus.
In a study published today, 15 July 2011, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Breath Research, researchers have investigated an easy, non-invasive breath test to measure biomolecules that accumulate in response to the H1N1 strain.
Research published last month claimed that over half of the people in Glasgow vaccinated during the 2009 swine flu pandemic were already infected with the flu virus, meaning they were vaccinated unnecessarily. It is thought that similar patterns would have been found throughout the UK.
These vaccinations would not have harmed the people concerned, however local health authorities would have been affected as they attempted to administer the vaccine quickly and effectively on limited supplies.
A fast-acting, non-invasive test for the virus could therefore help to avoid unnecessary vaccinations and help prioritise the people who most need the vaccines.
The researchers, from Cleveland Clinic and Syft Technologies, enrolled 11 individuals on their study of which nine were given the live attenuated H1N1 vaccine and administered the breath test on each of the following seven days.
The breath test examined exhaled nitric oxide (NO) a biomolecule whose production has previously been linked to influenza and viral infection and has been speculated to play a beneficial role in viral clearance.
The results showed a peak in NO levels in all subjects on the third day after vaccination. There were no significant differences in NO levels on any other day.
Of the 11 other compounds examined in the study, only one compound isoprene - showed an elevated level, again on day three. Increased levels of isoprene, a compound produced within the body and a major constituent of exha
|Contact: Michael Bishop|
Institute of Physics