Diagnostic tests

Call for household air pollution (HAP) biomarkers

Call for household air pollution (HAP) biomarkersExposure to the combustion of wood, charcoal, crop residues, dung, kerosene and coal results in nearly 4 million deaths per year from household air pollution (HAP).  With these figures mainly comprised from lower and middle income countries, HAP also contributes to childhood respiratory infection, asthma, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease and tuberculosis.

A multinational research team found that current HAP assessment tools include quantitative and qualitative methods.  Yet, there are issues surrounding personal monitoring assessments, with the researchers calling for the production of tests that will better identify those who are at risk from HAP.  With the team finding that current HAP exposure measurement methods are expensive, technically challenging and difficult to use with larger populations, they are making a case for the development of both exposure and health effect biomarkers.

The team notes in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology that further development of biomarkers of susceptibility and effect could facilitate large scale studies examining the impact of HAP.  Ultimately, new biomarkers would:

  • Improve accuracy in association studies with health effect
  • Reduce the cost of studies
  • Reduce the complexity of studies
  • Provide information for educating the public and policymakers about the risk
  • Inform clinicians and the health community about human environmental exposures that are not well characterised

With many nations continuing to use coal as primary source of fuel, this cost effective energy option may ultimately prove to be harmful and help contribute to HAP linked deaths.

Reference: www.the-asp.org


Randox Laboratories provide rapid, comprehensive screening of a wide range of potentially life-threatening infectious respiratory pathogens with their respiratory multiplex array.  For more information, visit the Biochip Molecular Diagnostics section of the website.



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