Scientists in Cambridge are developing a breathlyser which is expected to provide doctors with an instant diagnosis for the killer disease tuberculosis.
TB breathalyser will provide instant detection
The gadget will also be able to detect other serious respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and influenza.
Cambridge-based firm Sentec is hoping to build a prototype by the end of the year.
Lung diseases kill millions of people every year, particularly in the third world but current tests for TB take more than a week.
Rapid diagnosis is crucial so doctors can treat patients and also isolate them from others to prevent it from spreading.
Recent outbreaks of TB in London and Leicester have shown that the UK is also vulnerable to the disease.
The prototype detector will use antibodies of the relevant disease fixed in a tube.
If the disease is present in the patient's breath the antibodies will glow and can be detected by a reader device which gives a result within minutes.
It's being backed by the Department for Trade and Industry's Small Business Service which awards cash under the 'Smart' scheme.
Sentec project manager Elaine McCash said the detector would need to be robust, rapid and simple to use.
Sentec Ltd a Xylem Brand