Smells Like the Flu!

  • ChemPubSoc Europe Logo
  • Author: Meghan Campbell
  • Published Date: 15 April 2014
  • Source / Publisher: ChemBioChem/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
thumbnail image: Smells Like the Flu!

Related Articles

Related Societies

Mammalian cells produce odor compounds in response to viral infection. Cristina E. Davis and colleagues at the University of California, Davis, USA, discovered that mammalian cells emit a specific set of “smells” upon being infected with influenza viruses. These odors are primarily composed of volatile organic compounds, which can be detected by using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).

Specifically, circulating B-cells from our immune system are capable of producing chemical odors that appear after viral infection. Most of these compounds are specific to the strain of influenza, and they appear on a distinct time course post-infection. In some cases the researchers were able to detect flu just 6–8 hours after infection. Several of these chemicals appear to be generic influenza biomarkers.

This breakthrough may allow researchers to monitor for flu-associated compounds in exhaled human breath as an asymptomatic measure of viral infection—at a stage earlier than present clinical methods. It also appears that some of the compounds detected may be strain-specific, which could allow for further identification of the new infection.

Article Views: 5737

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission. more

CONNECT: on Facebook on Twitter on YouTube on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter

A product of ChemPubSoc Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)and Wiley-VCH