Bulgarian Scientist: Lung Thermometer Detects Coronavirus Faster than a PCR Test
A device as big as a telephone receiver can detect the presence of Covid-19 even before the virus could be detected by a PCR. It has been developed by a team of Italian, Spanish and Bulgarian scientists and is already used in diagnosing and tracking the infection.
Eight exhalations into the device are sufficient to conclude whether inflammation has occurred in the airways. In this way, the temperature of the lungs can be measured and а newly emerged infection can be caught early. With a coronavirus infection, like the flu, the temperature is thought to rise before clinical symptoms appear.
“It is a device that we can conditionally call a thermometer for the lungs”, explains Prof. Todor Popov from the Saint Ivan Rilski University Multi-Profile Hospital, a leading scientist in the international project. “In principle, there are various types of thermometers and they give us an idea of whether there is any inflammation in the body. However, when we measure the temperature of the exhaled air, we get information not only about the general temperature of the body, but also about the condition of the respiratory system and how much inflammation there is in it.”
The device is designed for patients with asthma, because the disease causes inflammation of the respiratory tract and therefore the temperature rises. And since a similar process takes place with a Covid-19 infection, the international team decided to use the already licensed equipment to monitor the dynamics of the temperature. This is done not only in Italy and Spain, where there are many more patients, but also in Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria, first the so-called thermometers were given out to people in contact with coronavirus patients. With the help of these devices, they measure their temperature in the morning and evening, and the values are automatically registered on a special website and it is monitored whether an infection will develop in their lungs.
“Here we are talking about telemedicine, about remote measurement of the most modern type”, says Prof. Todor Popov. “In this way the patient does not come into contact with another person and avoids infecting them, and we understand how the infection progresses and try to track it over time. When did the temperature of the exhaled air start to rise, when did the symptoms appear – things that are important from the point of view of disease control.”
In the opinion of Prof. Todor Popov, the coronavirus epidemic in Bulgaria is subsiding, but whether this will be a lasting trend and a new wave will not follow, no one can predict.
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