'VirScan Test' can Determine One’s Viral History With Just a Single Drop of Blood

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on June 7, 2015 at 6:02 AM
Font : A-A+

'VirScan Test' can Determine One’s Viral History With Just a Single Drop of Blood

Now, a DNA-based blood test, can determine a person's entire viral history, revealed Columbia University researchers. This new test can lead to early detection of conditions, such as hepatitis C, and eventually help explain what triggers certain autoimmune diseases and cancers. The test, known as VirScan, works by screening the blood for antibodies against any of the 206 species of viruses known to infect humans.

The immune system churns out specific antibodies when it encounters a virus. It can continue to produce those antibodies decades after an infection subsides. VirScan test detects those antibodies and uses them as a window in time to create a blueprint of nearly every virus an individual has encountered.


It is a dramatic alternative to existing diagnostic tools, which test only for a single suspected virus. Researcher Ian Lipkin said, "The approach is clever and a technological tour de force. It has the potential to reveal viruses people have encountered recently or many years earlier, thus, this is a powerful new research tool."

During the study, scientists found that an average person is exposed to 10 of the 206 different species of known viruses, though some people showed exposure to more than double that number. Study leader Stephen Elledge said, "Many of those people have probably been infected with many different strains of the same virus. People could be infected with many strains of rhinovirus over the course of your life, for instance, and it would show up as one hit. The VirScan analysis currently can be performed for about 25 dollars per blood sample, though labs might charge much more than that if the test becomes commercially available. It currently takes two or three days to process and sequence about 100 samples, though that speed could increase as technology improves."

The study appears in Science.

Source: Medindia

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Sedentary Behavior Precipitates Night-Time Hot Flashes
World Alzheimer's Day 2021 - 'Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer's
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Thalassemia Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation Bombay Blood Group 

Recommended Reading
Blood Test to Screen for Antibody Found in MS Patients can Help Predict Presence of Disease
A team of German researchers reveal that a simple blood test can screen for an antibody....
One Step Ahead of Blood Test for Suicide: US Scientists
A gene mutation has been identified by that appears to be common in people who attempt or commit .....
New Blood Test may Help Detect, Prevent Neural Tube Defects
Folic acid, as opposed to folate, which is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B found in ......
Scientists Develop a New Blood Test to Help Diagnose Parkinson's Disease Faster
If we can identify and diagnose new subtypes more specifically, it can help overcome the hurdle of ....
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Find out more about the degenerative disease- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis....
Blood in Stools - Symptom Evaluation
Blood in stools results from bleeding that arises from any part of the digestive tract. Causes of bl...
Bombay Blood Group
Bombay blood group is a rare blood type in which the people have an H antigen deficiency. They can r...
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder passed on through parental genes causing the body to prod...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use