WARF: P05416US

Identification of Disease Characteristics Using Isotope Ratios in Breath


Warren Porter, Mark Cook, Fariba Assadi-Porter, Daniel Butz

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a method of using isotope changes in breath to distinguish bacterial infections from viral infections in humans and other animals.
OVERVIEWUW-Madison researchers previously described a method of determining whether or not an animal is suffering from a catabolic change by sampling isotope changes in breath or blood.
THE INVENTIONThe researchers now have developed a method of using isotope changes in breath to distinguish bacterial infections from viral infections in humans and other animals. A cavity ringdown spectrometer is used to collect and analyze the isotopes in breath samples taken from a subject over time. A change in the ratio of one stable isotope to another within several hours of exposure to an infectious agent indicates a bacterial infection. On the other hand, a delayed change in isotope ratios, followed by periodic alterations in the ratios, indicates a viral infection.
  • Could provide an immediate-response, point-of-care diagnostic test to determine whether a patient is showing signs of illness due to a bacterial or viral infection, or something else
  • Could aid in determining if animals have an infection, helping to prevent large outbreaks, which could result in the loss of an entire herd/flock
  • May be used to screen large numbers of patients during a suspected bioterror attack
  • Non-invasive
  • Rapid
  • Highly accurate
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • May replace tests such the rapid test for Strep A
  • Potentially useful in developing countries, where clinics have limited laboratory capabilities
  • May detect bacterial infection before a patient has shown signs of infection
  • Reduces need for prophylactic antibiotic treatment
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTSuccessfully tested in chickens.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
The WARF Advantage

Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.