Patient’s breath may hold key to more accurate Covid diagnosis: Study

WASHINGTON: A patient’s breath may hold the key to being more precise A diagnosis of Covid-19including its variants, and Non-covid diseasespresented a new study.
Investigators from the University of Michigan’s Max Harry Weill Institute for Critical Care Research and Innovation (USA) used portable gas chromatography (GC) for the study. breathing patterns It was collected between April 2021 and May 2022 during the Delta wave of the pandemic and its transition to Omicron, the study said.
The results showed that GC technology can diagnose Covid-19 with high accuracy.
They also found that the volatile organic compounds in the breath of patients with Omicron differed from patients with Delta and earlier versions. These molecular-level differences, the team says, can be used to tell them apart COVID-19its variants and non-Covid diseases.
The emergence of new Covid-19 variants has reduced the accuracy of current rapid testing methods, the study said.
The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open.
“Exhaled breath contains hundreds of VOCs, which the body produces in response to infection and inflammation,” said lead researcher and study author Hudong (Sherman) Fan, associate director of the Weill Institute.
“Early in the pandemic, we used GC technology to find and identify VOCs of concern. Detection of Covid-19. However, we needed to better understand how dynamically evolving variants would affect this technology,” Fan said.
A team of researchers conducted a diagnostic study of 167 adult patients in the ICU and emergency department of Michigan Medicine.
They collected 205 respiratory samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic patients in 3 cohorts:
1. Covid-19 (2021): Patients with Covid-19 Recruited before December 14, 2021 and assumed to be infected by Delta or earlier versions
2. Covid-19 (2022): Patients with Covid-19 who were recruited from January 2022 to the end of May 2022 and were suspected of being infected with the Omicron variant
3. Non-Covid-19 disease: patients who are Covid-19 negative on breath test, as well as patients who were previously positive for Covid-19 but have recovered
Using a new point-of-care device developed by Fan and team, along with an advanced biomarker discovery algorithm and a university-developed data analysis platform, the investigators identified four sets of VOCs that could differentiate between Covid-19. 19 (2021) and non-Covid disease.
They were able to distinguish these VOCs between Covid-19 and non-Covid diseases with 92.7% sensitivity, 95.5% specificity and 94.7% accuracy, the study said.
However, when the team used the same VOCs in the alleged Omicron case, the sensitivity dropped dramatically to 60.4 percent, they said.
“We know clinically that different strains of SARS-CoV-2 can behave very differently,” said study co-author Robert Dixon, associate director of the Weill Institute.
“This reduction in performance supports the suspicion that their effects on lung biology are quite different,” Dixon said.
Based on their findings, the team hypothesized that breath analysis could be used to distinguish between variants of Covid.
They identified new VOCs by looking for additional biomarkers to distinguish between Omicron and Delta, Omicron and non-Covid disease, as well as between patients with Covid-19 and non-Covid disease regardless of variant, they said.
A combined analysis resulted in the possibility of detection Patients infected with Covid-19regardless of version, from Non-Covid patients with 89.4% sensitivity, 91% specificity and 90.2% accuracy, the study said.
This rate is close to RT-PCR tests, which are the gold standard, and better than most rapid antigen tests, the study said.
“This work suggests that point-of-care breath analysis may be a promising method for detecting Covid-19 and similar diseases that result in VOC production,” said co-author and principal investigator Kevin Ward, executive director. Weill Institute.

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