Virscan: 1 Test for every virus that has ever infected you

Excerpted from Science and Popular Science
A new test called VirScan would allow a patient to be tested for hundreds of viral infections at the same time.

“To see if a patient has ever been infected by a particular virus, researchers expose antibodies in the patient’s blood to molecules with the virus’ molecular signature. In the past, researchers could only check a sample for reactions of one type of antibody at a time. But thanks to Next Generation genetic sequencing, researchers can us VirScan to look for hundreds of antibody reactions at once. (Popular Science)

The test is not currently available in clinical practices so right now, if your Doctor suspects an infection they order a test for the specific virus or viruses that they suspect. VirScan would allow a Doctor to order just one test to check for hundreds of viruses at the same time. This could have far-reaching implications for patients without a firm diagnosis. And, researchers are hopeful that the technology will lead to new discoveries about the ways that viruses interact with human hosts.

“The researchers tested VirScan on samples from almost 600 individuals from the United States, Thailand, Peru, and South Africa. After observing over 100 million antibody reactions, the researchers determined that most people had been exposed to about 10 viruses on average, though a few had antibodies for 84 different viruses.
Interestingly, the researchers also uncovered that the immune system sometimes deploys the same antibodies for different viruses that may look similar or may tailor a sort of universal antibody to block a specific virus. With a bit more tweaking, the researchers hope that VirScan can be used to quickly detect the bacteria and fungi to shed more light on the microbiome. (Popular Science)

Imagine the research potential with this test. Researchers could quickly, cheaply, and easily test hundreds of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients for hundreds of viruses. Would clear subtypes of ME/CFS patients emerge? Would a pattern of viral exposure emerge? How different would our population look than the healthy controls?

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1 thought on “Virscan: 1 Test for every virus that has ever infected you”

  1. Donna: If the CAA is no longer in the media, quoetd with disingenuous statements ad nauseum, statements that hurt instead of help patients with appropriate testing and treatments, patients will stop donating to them. If we write every single reporter that has articles printed, and ask them to contact the WPI for more information, or Chia or Montoya, Cheney, Bell any one of the clinicians that actually see patients and do proper testing on them, the perception of the CAA will change. Maybe THEY will change, but I doubt it without different leadership and a better Board that understands that patients will not condone in any way anything but a change in the CDC’s website, the diagnosing of ME according to the Canadian Criteria, the proper training of physicians in diagnostic protocols for ME, and the inclusion of patients positive for XMRV, HHV6, EBV, and HCMV in studies, in Infectious Disease clinics across the country, and in any NeuroImmune clinics that open in the future.Patients can effect change, can request that any .org that does not act on behalf of the patients be silenced as their Voice. WE are the Voices.

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