Every virus that has ever made it through your system might be easily identified at the drop of a hat, or, more precisely with a single drop of blood.
Researchers have worked on a new blood test that is said to be so efficient that it is able to determine a person’s complete viral history by analyzing a drop of blood.
VirScan is a test created by a team of researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute led by Stephen Elledge of Harvard Medical School in Boston and Birmingham Women’s Hospital, who explains that they have “developed a screening methodology to basically look back in time in people’s [blood] sera and see what viruses they have experienced. Instead of testing for one individual virus at a time, which is labor intensive, we can assay all of these at once. It’s one-stop shopping.”
They performed tests on more than 550 participants from many parts of the world, using VirScan. All of the people involved in the trial had been infected with certain types of viruses, including HIV and Hepatitis C.
The root of other conditions such as diabetes, lupus or autoimmune diseases can also be identified by using this particular blood test.
The test showed that it can predict with a high level of accuracy what virus the person had been infected with, by analyzing more that 1000 viral strains from the virome, which is a wide variety of viruses that could be present in the human body.
In order to create the test, the experts synthesized around 93,000 short DNA sections which contained a variety of pieces of peptides, which are viral proteins. Afterwards, they introduced them to bacteriophages, which infect bacterial cells. These showed the protein sequences that are present in various strains of human viruses.
The researchers said the accuracy for prediction was more than 95 percent.
The current cost for such a test is estimated to be around $ 25 and it takes up to 3 days for the test to analyze 100 blood samples.
The researchers explained that such a test is extremely useful because it can help the patient take action against the virus in his or her body before it is too late. Moreover, the viral history of a patient can help the doctors look into some medical conditions that might have been neglected or overlooked and that could have an impact on the patient’s health.
The study, in which a detailed explanation of how VirScan works, was published in the journal Science.
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