VirScan provides complete viral history from a drop of blood

VirScan provides complete viral history from a drop of blood

"A new test developed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) can test for both past and current infections by analyzing a single drop of patient blood. The researchers consider the method superior to existing techniques, which only search for a single virus at a time."

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Given the importance of knowing a CLL patient's previous viral exposure history prior to commencing treatment, this could be a useful test to have so specialists know what viral illnesses may reactivate when treatment suppresses a patient's immunity.


4 Replies

  • I really look forward to this kind of testing becoming a reality. But I would say the "complete history" may be more partial than they imply.

    Memory B cells do not last your entire life, recent infections take several days to stimulate antibody production, and some viruses mutate quickly.

    There's also been a call for more standardization in the antibodies used to test such things. One can order them from catalogs online, but some sources are apparently more reliable than others:

    I even got some spam via AAAS from a company called Cell Signaling Technology saying "Buy 3 antibodies, and get the 4th free!"$urlparam$IU7cI35AUwJBxOHQa4TOfjQv$PkmYqE?id=buy-3-get-1-free&promotion=MBG15&utm_campaign=2015-WW-Retain-Regain-Obtain&utm_content=2015-may-19-buy-3-science&utm_source=email&utm_src=email

    So cloned antobodies have become a commodity.

  • 'So cloned antibodies have become a commodity.'

    Just ask! Roche... Rituxan sales topped 7 billion last year...

  • Maybe Roche grows their own ... fewer middlemen ... higher profits, better quality control. But 7 billion is not that many doses of Rituxan.

    Says that 8 vials cost about US $6,000 with a free coupon. But I'll bet it costs a lot more at the clinic or hospital in the US.

    When I took the edX MOOC, (a Massively Open Online Course) "MITx 7.00x Intro to Biology: The Secret of Life", Dr. Eric Lander introduced the refrain, "And where do we find the x?", where x might be an enzyme, reagent, bacteria, or antibody needed in some experiment. The answer is always "It's in the catalog!"

    For ultimate convenience, (delivery by drone in some areas soon), you can even buy this stuff through Amazon!


  • Well its Roche, Genentech and Biogen, I think Biogen actually makes Rituxan.

    Should be interesting this fall when the biosimilars hit the U.S.nmarket, certain there are a number of companies like Dr. Reddy from India, Pfizer, Amgen etc. ready to cut a slice of the rituxan market pie... ;-)

    Samsung dropped out of the race, but I believe there are a dozen other companies with CD20 monoclonals ready to go or in clinical trials.

    Roche et al will likely switch to the new 10 minute fast infusion rituxan and Gazyza... might also compete on price of rituxan.

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