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‘Artificial nose’ scents blood-poisoning bacteria


An “artificial nose” that could save lives by swiftly sniffing out blood-poisoning bacteria has been developed by scientists.

The device can test for the bugs in just 24 hours instead of the usual 72 and researchers hope it can be used to prevent sepsis, a potentially fatal condition. In some cases it can rapidly lead to septic shock, organ failure and death. An estimated 20 to 35 per cent of victims die.

The new device consists of a  small plastic bottle with a chemical-sensing array or artificial nose attached to the inside. A blood sample is injected into the bottle, which is then shaken to agitate a nutrient solution and encourage bacteria to grow.