New Virus Test: A Single Drop of Blood is Sufficient

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  • Published: 06 June 2015
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Science
thumbnail image: New Virus Test: A Single Drop of Blood is Sufficient

George Xu, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, and colleagues have developed a comprehensive test that looks at the same time in a single drop of blood for antibodies of 1000 different virus strains to test for current and past infections. The test identifies antibodies against all 206 species of viruses known to infect humans. This systematic viral epitope scanning (VirScan) method uses immunoprecipitation and high-throughput DNA sequencing of a bacteriophage library displaying proteome-wide peptides from all human viruses. The analysis costs about $25 per blood sample.

The researchers have evaluated over 108 antibody-peptide interactions in nearly 600 humans across four continents. They found antibodies to an average of 10 viral species per person. They already have identified more antibody/peptide interactions to viral proteins than had been identified in the previous history of all viral exploration.

The team says that VirScan is a powerful approach for studying interactions between the virome and the immune system and could easily be expanded to include other human pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.


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