The BreathSpec® project aims to develop a rapid, non-invasive device that can diagnose bacterial or viral infections through ultra-high sensitivity breath analysis. The BreathSpec® device was originally developed and designed in 2010 for the analysis of VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) metabolic profiles in human breath.
In 2018-2019 the diagnostics group, led by Dr Emily Adams, completed enrolment to the BreathSpec study. More than 1250 patients with suspected bacterial pneumonia or bacterial sore-throat were recruited in the Liverpool region and 3 other UK NHS Trusts. The novel BreathSpec technology is being tested to identify markers of bacterial vs viral chest infections using only a breath sample. This ability to diagnose people who do not require antibiotics for a viral infection could revolutionise our prescribing methods and using a non-invasive breath sample means this could be performed anywhere.