Medical Diagnostics – The technology can detect and identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in breath as early biomarkers for disease. Blood and urine are most commonly used in diagnosis as compared to breath VOCs. In contrast to blood and urine, breath analysis is easy, specific and highly qualitative. Advantages of breath testing include its noninvasive and non-intrusive nature, and that it can be performed repeatedly without limits to amount (unlike blood), timing (unlike urine), or frequency (unlike radiography) and has no age limits (neonates to the elderly). Breath testing has the potential to be inexpensive and portable, lending itself to a wide range of settings, from the hospital to the clinic, the home, and even remote areas and developing countries. Breath testing offers the possibility of providing real-time results in point-of-care or at-home testing, and it increases the potential for personalized medicine.
Estimated yearly US market for asthma testing, monitoring and management is $15 billion, global cancer screening market is $30 billion, global diabetes testing and monitoring is $20 billion and global TB testing is $1 billion, to name a few markets.
Specialized Medical Diagnostics for Controlling Pandemics – The World Health Organization recently (February 16, 2013) urged countries to be vigilant over the spread of a potentially fatal SARS-like virus after several new cases showed up in Britain. The same medical diagnostic technology can be used to contain or limit the spread of diseases such as bird and swine flu, SARS, or bacterial infections. The technology can be used by health authorities around the world to screen passengers entering a country, on mass transportation systems (customs, security checkpoints, ticket counters, etc.) or at hospitals and doctor offices thus limiting the spread including the possibility of pandemics. The real-time test is as simple as blowing into a tube (like a breathalyzer test). No need to collect blood, send to labs for analysis and quarantine while waiting for results.
A high body count is not the only meaningful number attached to a pandemic. The potential cost of a global outbreak of the flu or some other highly contagious disease can devastate the economy. A 2009 study by economists at the Brookings Institution analyzed the direct economic impact of closing schools during a flu pandemic. Since about one-quarter of civilian workers in the United States have a child under 16 and no stay-at-home adult, closing all the nation’s K-12 schools for two weeks would result in between $5.2 billion and $23.6 billion in lost economic activity; a four-week closing would cost up to $47.1 billion dollars — 0.3 percent of GDP. In 2003, studies have estimated, the economic loss due to the SARS outbreak in East Asian of 2% of global GDP or $200 billion.