Researchers with the Washington University School of Medicine have created a new test coined ViroCap that can detect all viruses affecting animals and humans alike.
ViroCap is designed to analyze samples taken from patients via genome sequencing. As it includes data on genetic material from all virus families currently known, it may detect the most sensitive difference between different viruses and different strains of the same virus at the same time.
Due to its heightened sensitivity, ViroCap is more efficient and accurate than any battery of conventional tests. During tests, it could accurately and rapidly detect viruses that conventional testing didn’t even indicate. Moreover, it could identify strains that certainly need differentiated treatment than more common virus roots or strains, as is the case with the influenza virus for instance.
There’s a multitude of viruses in the world. Viruses that upon infecting a human or animal body may leave permanent damage or even be fatal. One advantage of ViroCap is that, unlike conventional testing it doesn’t require a previous knowledge or indication of possible causes that lead to a patient’s illness. Gregory Storch, MD, and Professor of Pediatrics stated:
“With this test, you don’t have to know what you’re looking for. It casts a broad net and can efficiently detect viruses that are present at very low levels. We think the test will especially useful in situations where a diagnosis remains elusive after standard testing or in situation in which the cause of a disease outbreak is unknown”.
ViroCap is capable of performing so well due to the genome sequencing technology. Working with a database including genome sequences and DNA data relevant for all known viruses around the world, ViroCap promises to spot any virus or virus strain in samples collected from human patients and animals alike. It is sensitively calibrated to make a difference in the medical community, as well as for research.
According to the research team, upon completion of tests needed for ViroCap to be rolled out, the new test will be made widely available. It is a valuable resource and tool that is destined to save lives, improve response time, timely and accurately detect viruses and simplify the work of health workers worldwide.
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