Thursday, October 01, 2015

One-stop test for all viruses

Researchers at the Washington University's School of Medicine (St Louis) have developed a test that identifies thousands of known viruses in one fell swoop. This will eliminate patients' getting batteries of different tests at different doctors.

Called ViroCap, it can detect viruses not found by standard testing. You don't have to look for something with a special test--it tells you, here are the viruses present. (Sept Genome Research)

The gold standard now is polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. However, these screen for only about 20 viruses at a time.

Researchers screened blood, stool, and nasal secretions. In one test, they screened 14 children--the new test found viruses missed in four under previous methods. The standard testing missed Influenza B, parechovirus (intestinal and respiratory), herpes virus 1 (cold sores), and the chicken pox virus.

It can detect even viruses that are close to each other genetically. It also sorts of subtypes that can cause ailments.

The test may also be modified in the future to find bacteria, fungi, and other microbes as well as indicators that the pathogen is resistant to antibiotics.

The research and test are being provided publicly and will be available to scientists--and eventually patients?--worldwide.

Yay--let's get on it!

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