Breakthrough test can detect nearly every virus from single drop of blood

By Erin McCann
10:51 AM
'I'm sure there'll be lots of applications we haven't even dreamed of'

In what may be a scientific breakthrough, researchers have developed an experimental new blood test that can identify virtually every virus to which an individual has been exposed. In its pilot phase, which tested the blood of 569 individuals, it revealed that most people tested positive for an average of 10 virus species.

The new test, developed by scientists at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, may help researchers uncover important connections between viruses and their potential contributions to diseases, cancer and immune system responses. The test method, dubbed VirScan, requires less than a single drop of blood and has the ability to screen for more than 1,000 human viral species. What's more, the test may cost as little as $25, according to the The New York Times.

"I'm sure there'll be lots of applications we haven't even dreamed of," Stephen J. Elledge, senior author of the recent study, and a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, told the Times. "That's what happens when you invent technology – you can't imagine what people will do with it."

Click here to read the NYT story.

Click here to see the study.