New Nanotechnology quickly detects Zika virus in blood

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Washington University researchers developed a test that quickly detects Zika virus in blood.

Zika virus

Current tests require a Zika virus infected blood for refrigerated and shipped to a medical center or laboratory, delaying diagnosis and possible treatment. However, the new technology has produced for use in medical situations, the test’s results can determine in minutes. The required materials for the test do not require refrigeration and also apply in testing for other emerging infectious diseases.

The researchers tested blood samples taken from four Zika infected people and compared it to blood from five unaffected people. Blood taken from Zika-infected patients tested positive, but Zika-negative controls did not. The test produced no false-positive results.

According to the researchers, many people infected with Zika don’t know they’re infected. Zika infection is often either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, said, Evan D. Kharasch, one of the study investigators. The most effective way to diagnose the disease is not to wait for people develop symptoms but to do population screening.

gold nanorods

That strategy requires inexpensive, easy-to-use and easy-to-transport tests. Researchers create a test, which uses gold nanorods mounted on paper to detect Zika infection within a few minutes.

The test relies on a protein made by Zika virus, causes an immune response in infected individuals. The protein attached to tiny gold nanorods mounted on a piece of paper. The paper covers tiny, protective nanocrystals. The nanocrystals allows diagnostic nanorods to shipped and stored without refrigeration use.

To use the test, a technician rinse the paper with slightly acidic water, removing the protective crystals and exposing the protein mounted on the nanorods. If the patient meets the virus (after applying patient’s blood) the blood contain immunoglobulins that react with the protein.

The immunoglobulins preserve in the blood for a few months, and when they meet the gold nanorods. The nanorods experience a slight color change that can detect with a hand-held spectrophotometer.

The changing color cannot see with the naked eye, but the scientists working to change that. They’re also working on developing ways to use saliva rather than blood.

More information: [Willey Online Library]

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