Radu Ionescu Tesfalem Geremariam Welearegay2 and Lars Österlund1
1The Ångström Laboratory, Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University, 75121
2Department of Electronics, Electrical and Automatic Engineering, Rovira i Virgili University, 43007 Tarragona, Spain
In this study we evaluated the analysis of exhaled breath composition as a non-invasive approach for the diagnosis of neglected tropical diseases. The study was performed on patients with three neglected tropical diseases produced by different causes: Dengue (arboviral infection), Leishmaniasis (protozoan infection) and Echinicoccosis (helminth infection). In the first step, putative breath biomarkers of these diseases were identified by gas chromatography – mass spectrometry analytical studies. Chemical gas sensors based on organically-capped metal nanopartilces were next fabricated, whose active material was judiciously selected such as to have high affinity with the identified biomarkers. Classification models built with sensors responses yielded diagnostic accuracy over 90% for all the three diseases studied. The methodology that we introduced in this study provides means to make non-invasive techniques for facile diagnosis of neglected tropical diseases. Our technique provides fast results and is amenable for use in both specialist and non-specialist settings. This would counteract the present lack of reliable diagnosis tests for neglected tropical diseases, and might be readily deployed in regions lacking specialized health care facilities.