The swine flu epidemic that swept through 2009 caused thousands of deaths worldwide and thousands of people panicked to get vaccines. One of the biggest problems related to the pandemic was not having enough vaccines for everyone that wanted them. Researchers believe that effective breath tasting may help in determining who actually needs the vaccine and allow the vaccine supply to be conserved worldwide.
Already Had the Swine Flu
The issue of vaccinations for the swine flu was a big concern for many people, and statistics now show that wanting to get them was for a good reason. Swine flu had spread to over 214 countries and experts estimate that between 43-89 million people were infected with the disease. They roughly estimate that between 8000-18,000 people worldwide had died from swine flu.
A study published in Journal of Breath Research indicates that half of the people in Glasgow, Scottland already had the swine flu, but had contracted a mild and non-threatening form of it. The researchers believe that it’s likely that the same thing happened throughout the UK, but people didn’t know that they had it.
1,600 people from Britton had received blood tests in 2009, and it showed that 44% had unknowingly been infected with a mild version.
Mark Woolhouse of University of Edinburgh was one of the researchers involved. Woolhouse says, “There were about 20 times as many people found to have contracted the disease, as we first thought, which was surprising.”
A similar trend could have occurred in the rest of the world.
They state that getting the vaccination would not harm someone who already has a mild strain of the swine flu, but getting it would be unnecessary. The biggest problem with the swine flu pandemic was that people panicked to get a shot and supplies were low.
Experts believe if a test were given to show they already had a mild and safe version of the flu, they would have been able to save the vaccines for people who were in more dire need of them. It would also remove some of the burden on health authorities that scrambled to meet the vaccine demands.
The Swine Flu Breath Test
Researchers believe they have found a breath test that can accurately determine if someone has the swine flu. Cleveland Clinic and Syft Technologies performed a test on 11 participants who voluntarily were infected with a strain of the swine flu.
Over the course of several days, the researchers gave them breath tests that examined their Nitric Oxide levels (NO). It is believed that high levels of NO indicate that a person has the swine flu. NO present is also a good sign because it shows that the virus is being removed.
The tests were able to detect signs on the third day of breath testing. This is consistent with the discoveries of past studies. On the third day of infection is when a person’s immune system is triggered into action.
The researchers believe that breath testing can very useful in the future in the diagnostic process, but the research isn’t yet complete. Professor Raed Dwelk, the lead the researcher, says, “More work still needs to be done, however, to identify the specific compounds that change in response to vaccination and to find the biologic link between those compounds and the host response to the vaccine or the actual disease.”
Swine Flu Testing: Breath Tests
Swine Flu Testing: Blood Tests Reveal That Many Had Swine Flu
Swine Flu Testing: Conserving Blood Tests