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E-nose detects hospital infections


New Scientist reports that researchers at the University of Warwick and doctors at the Heart of England Hospital, Birmingham, have developed an electronic nose that can help hospitals detect the superbug MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Ordinarily, tests for MRSA takes days to complete, making it difficult to manage outbreaks, but the e-nose can apparently detect the infection within minutes, giving doctors a significant leg up. They don't come cheap, however, at £60,000, and they're about the size of two desktop PCs (better keep some damn large Kleenex handy). In addition to detecting superbugs, the e-nose is also being used to look for early signs of pneumonia in intensive care patients.

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