VirScan: Find out which viruses you’ve been infected with

News, Science

blood

We live in a world where viruses are everywhere, we may not be able to see them but it’s highly likely that you come in to contact with a potentially infected person every single day. Well, thanks to a new blood test developed by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, you can now find out which viruses you have been infected with from just a single drop of blood.

blood

The new test, VirScan, means that instead of the old method of a physician guessing what virus might be at play and testing for that certain virus, we’re now able to potentially look for all viruses with a single test.

The way in which the test works is by screening for antibodies relating to over 200 different species of virus that affect humans, and the 1000+ strains of those viruses. How will the test know about viruses you had many years ago, I hear you ask? Well, this is possible because of the bodies immune system. The immune system creates antibodies that help to combat the virus, and instead of just vanishing the antibodies remain in the blood stream for many years after the virus has been defeated.

VirScan has apparently delivered accurate results, with almost 100 percent sensitivity for HIV and Hepatitis C in the initial trials (all trial patients were known to have had those viruses in previous years).

You’d think such a scientific test would cost you an absolute fortune; however, it only costs around $25 USD (£16) to perform the test. With such good results so far, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be finding cures for some of the worlds rarest diseases.

Source: Wired