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VirScan Infection History Shows Your Doc Everything You've Had

By    |   Friday, 05 Jun 2015 11:09 AM

A new blood test called VirScan allows scientists to identify a patient's entire infection history from a single drop of blood.

VirScan can work up a comprehensive analysis of a patient's viral history by screening the blood for antibodies against more than 200 viruses that affect humans, Maryland's Howard Hughes Medical Institute said on its website on Thursday.

 


Dr. Stephen J. Elledge, a Howard Hughes investigator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said the technology can give an accurate picture of a person's medical history of long past illnesses, which can aid doctors and patients. The test is detailed in the June 5 edition of the research journal Science.

"We've developed a screening methodology to basically look back in time in people's (blood) sera and see what viruses they have experienced," said Elledge. "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."

Researchers said VirScan can end up proving vital in allowing doctors to quickly assess a person's infection history and could be updated regularly.

"Our preliminary studies have revealed intriguing general properties of the human immune system, both at the individual and the population scale," said the study's conclusion. "VirScan may prove to be an important tool for uncovering the effect of host-virome interactions on human health and disease and could easily be expanded to include new viruses as they are discovered, as well as other human pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoa."

Others in the medical field, like Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, appeared excited about the potential VirScan holds, according to the Washington Post.

"The approach is clever and a technological tour de force," said Lipkin. "It has the potential to reveal viruses people have encountered recently or many years earlier ... Thus, this is a powerful new research tool."

Doctors said the test could be used to quickly detect HIV and hepatitis C, and other infections that patients can carry for years without outward symptoms, noted the Post.

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A new blood test called VirScan allows scientists to identify a patient's entire infection history from a single drop of blood.
VirScan Infection History Shows Doc Everything Youve Had
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2015-09-05
Friday, 05 Jun 2015 11:09 AM
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