Up until now, the process of determining what viruses an individual has suffered from has been very time-consuming, since it requires various rounds of testing to find results for one virus at a time. Now, a study has been developed that can find the results for several viruses during a single round of testing.
A new study called Virscan, explained recently in the magazine Science, can find an individual’s entire history of viruses through the study of a single drop of blood. For the test, scientists synthesized over 93,000 peptides, or short sections of DNA that encoded pieces of viral proteins. The fact that the test can be done on a single drop of blood, and the results are multiple without the need for repetitive testing rounds.
Test Examines Millions of Possible Interactions of Viruses
The test was used on over 500 subjects. The test examined over 100 million possible interactions antibodies and epitopes from the blood samples. The individuals were known to have certain viruses, like HIV and Hepatitis C. The test was around 100-percent accurate in finding the HIV. It also found an average of 10 different viruses in the history of the individuals, who were from Peru, South Africa, Thailand and the US. The individuals from the US typically had fewer viruses than the individuals from the other three countries.
Adults typically had more viruses than children. Also, the test found that those with HIV had more antibodies for viruses than those who did not have HIV. This has a lot of potential benefit for those studying HIV as well.
Interesting Similarity Found in Antibody Reactions
The antibodies of different individuals were found to have similar reactions to a specific virus. The amino acids in the peptides were recognized by the antibodies, causing similar reactions from different individuals.
Researchers are hopeful that this scan will have a lot of potential benefits. Not only will it replace current virus testing, which tests for one virus at a time, but it will also have potentially impressive impact on the design of future vaccines and will possibly help with the discovery of factors that have impacted health and previously gone undetected.
This scan decreases the cost of virus testing, because it is less labor intensive and far less time-consuming. Researchers described it as a “one-stop shop” for virus scanning. It also inly requires one drop of blood to discover a history of various viruses. This also cuts down on cost and time.