Your Viral Infection History from a Single Drop of Blood

Your Viral Infection History from a Single Drop of Blood

Let us not get too excited, many things sound good until we look more closely. However, this does sound interesting.

[ June 4, 2015 ]

Your Viral Infection History from a Single Drop of Blood

Summary

New technology developed by HHMI researchers makes it possible to test for current and past infections with any known human virus by analyzing a single drop of blood.

Highlights

With VirScan, scientists can run a single test to determine which viruses have infected an individual.

VirScan works by screening the blood for antibodies against any of more than 200 species of viruses known to infect humans.

The comprehensive analysis can be performed for about $25 per blood sample.

New technology developed by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers makes it possible to test for current and past infections with any known human virus by analyzing a single drop of a person's blood. The method, called VirScan, is an efficient alternative to existing diagnostics that test for specific viruses one at a time.

With VirScan, scientists can run a single test to determine which viruses have infected an individual, rather than limiting their analysis to particular viruses. That unbiased approach could uncover unexpected factors affecting individual patients' health, and also expands opportunities to analyze and compare viral infections in large populations. The comprehensive analysis can be performed for about $25 per blood sample.

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Elledge says the approach his team has developed is not limited to antiviral antibodies. His own lab is also using it to look for antibodies that attack a body's own tissue in certain autoimmune diseases that are associated with cancer. A similar approach could also be used to screen for antibodies against other types of pathogens.

More here:

hhmi.org/news/your-viral-in...

4 Replies

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  • Gosh that is amazing! I'd like to know ESP as my brother died of Birketts lymphoma which is thought to be triggered by Barr Epstein virus. Other family members have had non Hodkins lymphomas as well. I wonder if the blood test is available yet?

  • Sadly, looks like we have a long wait...

    The test is cheap — analyzing a blood sample costs $25 — and 100 samples can be processed in a single week. But VirScan won’t be available to the public for a number of years; the FDA regulatory process requires validation through further experiments. And, in truth, this might not be the type of test that gets used by doctors right away. For many, knowing which viruses you’ve survived will be a novelty. That said, the test will certainly help researchers get a better understanding of ways in which humans respond to virus infection. And eventually, Larman and his team would like to create a simpler test that could be used in a clinic to improve infection diagnosis. But again, that's a long way off — Larman estimates that general adoption of the technology is roughly five to 10 years out.

    theverge.com/2015/6/4/87289...

  • Thanks for that info - at least I might get more for my money - assuming some extra viruses have a go at me in the next ten years :-)

  • Rod, this has some real possibilities for autoimmune diseases and earlier detection which is a major problem at this point. It is a shame they are looking at such a long time before it is widely available. PR

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