Scientists have signalled the end of man 'flu - after inventing a tissue that can tell exactly how ill you are. Patients with sniffles will soon be able to tell if it's 'flu or just a cold simply by sneezing into a tissue, say research scientists in Germany.
The new tissue - say the research team - will change colour depending on the type of bacteria contained in the patient's mucus. And experts believe the tissues could lead to the end of 'man 'flu' for ever. "It will certainly stop people trying to pass of a head cold as influenza.
"The evidence will be right there in their hands," said one of the research team in Potsdam, which plans to have the tissues in the shops by 2014. The project's head - physics professor Frank Bier, 53 - explained: "The aim is that patients, in the space of a few minutes, will know whether they are just a little bit ill or whether they have the onset of severe 'flu."
"That can be very important for certain patients. It can also help to stop the spread of 'flu-like epidemics," he added. The team - from Fraunhofer-Institut for biomedical technology - say the special tissues work like Polaroid film. "But instead of reacting to light, they react to different kinds of bacteria," said the professor.