With the news of world health experts asking the G7 this weekend about the creation of a rapid response unit for epidemics, it is a good time for the emergence of a new blood test that actually reveals every virus an individual has ever had.
Although still in the testing phase, according to the New York Times ,this new blood test could be administered for as little as $25 per test and would be extremely important in determining trends in different populations with regards to virus contraction. Although this may seem irrelevant, the tests may actually be able to determine the triggers that cause certain viruses to develop into chronic diseases, including cancer. This can then help scientists better understand viruses, how they spread and how they can be treated and controlled.
So far, trials have been carried out with 596 patients in the United States, South Africa, Thailand and Peru. The results demonstrated a large scale of common cold and flus, as well as gastrointestinal illnesses were common. However, the tests also can help scientists determine how to create treatments based on an individual’s specific immune system which could help not only to prevent the development of chronic disease, but also to cure illnesses in a more efficient manner.
The tests work by detecting antibodies that the immune system has previously developed and used to fight off viral infections. These antibodies do not leave the body, which allows the test to present accurate details of a patient’s viral history which then assists scientists in better understanding viruses.
The study’s senior author, Stephen Elledge of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital is excited at the possibilities this test brings to the medical world along with the other possibilities it could hold.