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(Reuters) – A wearable “sweat sensor” might someday help monitor patients with COVID-19 and other illnesses for the onset of a cytokine storm, a surge of inflammatory proteins heralding a potentially fatal over-reaction of the immune system, researchers said.
Cytokines are typically measured in blood. They can also be measured in sweat, but only in “passive” sweat – not the kind produced during exertion.
“The big challenge is that we don’t sweat much, especially in air-conditioned environments,” Shalini Prasad of the University of Texas at Dallas said in a statement. In the wristwatch-like device her team is developing, rimonabant pdf minuscule amounts of passive sweat diffuse onto a sensor strip attached to an electronic reader. The reader detects any inflammatory proteins and wirelessly sends the data to a smartphone app.
“Especially now in the context of COVID-19, if you could monitor pro-inflammatory cytokines and see them trending upwards, you could treat patients early, even before they develop symptoms,” said Prasad, who was presenting the work at a virtual meeting of the American Chemical Society.
The researchers plan to initially test the device in patients with non-COVID respiratory infections, such as influenza.
SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2RvJPij American Chemical Society, April 16, 2021.
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