June 26, 2015 – Blood Drop Analysis
Anchor lead: A new test needing only a drop of blood can examine your exposure to viruses, Elizabeth Tracey reports
It’s now possible to examine all the viruses you’ve been exposed to with just a drop of blood, a new test revealed in the journal Science purports. Andrew Pekosz, a viral infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says the potential benefits of such knowledge are multiple.
Pekosz: It’s allowing us to learn a lot more about our immune responses, to viruses. This technology has identified new viral proteins, new sequences of viral proteins, which we didn’t know before people were making immune responses to. They’ve also identified proteins where virtually everybody exposed to a virus comes up with antibodies that recognize the exact same protein, so therefore it gives us a handle on things that might potentially be used for diagnostics, or potentially for a vaccine. Because if everybody has come up with the same antibody that might serve as a good vaccine. :32
Over time such information could also help delineate the role of viruses in things like diabetes and cancer, Pekosz says, as well as provide individuals with an accurate snapshot of viral infections they may be susceptible to. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.