Viral infections cause increased oxidative stress, so a breath test for oxidative stress biomarkers (alkanes and alkane derivatives) might provide a new tool for early diagnosis. We studied 33 normal healthy human subjects receiving scheduled treatment with live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). Each subject was his or her own control, since they were studied on day 0 prior to vaccination, and then on days 2, 7 and 14 following vaccination. Breath volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were collected with a breath collection apparatus, then analyzed by automated thermal desorption with gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. A Monte Carlo simulation technique identified non-random VOC biomarkers of infection based on their C-statistic values (area under curve of receiver operating characteristic). Treatment with LAIV was followed by non-random changes in the abundance of breath VOCs. 2, 8-Dimethyl-undecane and other alkane derivatives were observed on all days. Conservative multivariate models identified vaccinated subjects on day 2 (C-statistic = 0.82, sensitivity = 63.6% and specificity = 88.5%); day 7 (C-statistic = 0.94, sensitivity = 88.5% and specificity = 92.3%); and day 14 (C-statistic = 0.95, sensitivity = 92.3% and specificity = 92.3%). The altered breath VOCs were not detected in live attenuated influenza vaccine, excluding artifactual contamination. LAIV vaccination in healthy humans elicited a prompt and sustained increase in breath biomarkers of oxidative stress. A breath test for these VOCs could potentially identify humans who are acutely infected with influenza, but who have not yet developed clinical symptoms or signs of disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine