New Blood Test Can Tell You Any Virus That Has Ever Infected Your Body

by Madeline Concannon

Get ready for science to blow your mind.

Researchers from Howard Hughes Medical Institute recently developed technology that makes it possible to find out every virus you’ve ever been infected with by analyzing a single drop of blood.

The new method is called VirScan, and it is potentially a huge milestone for medical diagnostics.

This technology has the ability to detect more than 1,000 pathogens at once, as opposed to current traditional blood tests, ELISA assays, which can only test for one pathogen at a time.

According to Stephen Elledge,

What makes this so unique is the scale: Right now, a physician needs to guess what virus might be at play and individually test for it. With VirScan, we can look for virtually all viruses, even rare ones, with a single test.

In order to make this process possible, Elledge and his team developed peptides (fragments from viruses) that allow them to determine if a participant has previous or current viral exposure.

The team tested 569 people from Peru, the United States, South Africa and Thailand, and there was a pattern suggesting many people have been exposed to the same peptides or viruses.

Moreover, the study found with VirScan, researchers can investigate the difference between how exposure to a certain virus can correlate with the possibility of contracting a different disease later on.

This could potentially help researchers develop preventative methods for cancer and other diseases.

With the advent of this technology, scientists can gain deeper understandings of the genome of viruses and, in turn, learn more about the implications of a myriad of diseases.

Mind = blown.