Are there TB-specific metabolite profiles in exhaled breath?   

The emergence of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) represents a public health threat worldwide. Therefore, follow-up during treatment is essential to ensure adherence and response to long-term multidrug therapy. However, conventional methods based on the detection of viable Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli in sputum have limitations, as they may contain latent and viable contagious mycobacteria as well as dead mycobacteria.

 To tackle this challenge, we aim to evaluate the diagnostic performance of two approaches based on the analysis of exhaled air biomarkers to detect TB and to assess their potential for monitoring response to treatment. 

Given the limitations, especially in resource-limited countries, developing a rapid and easily accessible point-of-care approach with the ability to diagnose and monitor TB treatment by exhaled breath samples would help address treatment failure by improving TB control.

Accordingly, we are conducting a multicenter study in TB patients to evaluate an electronic nose prototype (Aeonose®; eNose Company, Zutphen, the Netherlands) based on the analysis of volatile organic compounds in exhaled air. In addition, we are conducting a study to evaluate the potential of an aerosol collection technique using modified face masks analyzed by molecular methods.

Leading partners: IGTP

Collaborating partners: SC

External collaborating partners: Radboud Univeristy (Netherlands); EUSAT-TB Consortium; The eNose Company