University of Utah student Dhiman Bhattacharyya develops breathalyzer to detect tuberculosis.

Next Standard in TB Detection

A new “TB Breathalyzer” sensor created by a Ph.D. student at the U aims to provide a point-of-care solution for millions at risk of getting tuberculosis, a fatal lung disease. “Ten million people are affected by tuberculosis every year,” said its creator, Dhiman Bhattacharyya, whose work involves functionalized titanium dioxide nanotubes to detect disease biomarkers from breath. “Three million of those people don’t have access to basic care because current TB-detection methods are lab-based and expensive.” Bhattacharyya’s device works like an alcohol breathalyzer. Manufactured by NanoSynth Materials & Sensors, it will provide immediate results for just a few dollars per use. The far-reaching impact of Bhattacharyya’s invention is clear. Millions at risk for tuberculosis will soon have access to low-cost detection of a deadly health-care concern. “Sensitivity and specificity of skin tests are very low, and don’t confirm TB,” Bhattacharyya said. “Time of detection in low-resource settings is critical.”

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Find this article and a lot more in the 2016 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.

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