State-of-the-art DNA-based clinical blood test can screen just one drop of blood for all viruses

A revolutionary DNA-based blood test that utilizes genome-mapping technology, VirScan, could detect the type of viruses that have invaded a person’s body in his/ her lifetime, allow for the early detection of diseases and provide medical specialists valuable information about the causes of autoimmune diseases and cancer with a single drop of blood.

Compared to traditional blood tests, VirScan is by far more accurate and comprehensive.  “It has the potential to reveal viruses people have encountered recently or many years earlier … Thus, this is a powerful new research tool,” says Prof. Ian Lipkin from the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University.

Around 570 patients from four different continents have been given VirScan tests. Researchers found that on average, a person’s body is attacked by ten to 260 different types of viruses, even more for some. Research further reveals one more alarming finding:   Africans, Asians and South Americans had a “richer viral history” compared to the American participants. Scientists speculate on the possible causes — genes, the strains of the viruses’ common in the aforementioned countries, or “sanitation and cultural habits” — but were unable to find convincing evidence to the real cause.

VirScan costs approximately $25 per blood sample although other hospitals may charge more.



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