Date Published: 17 February 2012
Non-invasive diagnostic for Adenovirus
Scientists at Leeds University (Yorkshire, England) have developed a technique that could lead to a non-invasive diagnostic for Adenovirus – the virus responsible for a large number of common illnesses. This is significant because at the moment testing for viruses is complicated, time consuming and requires specialist preparation of samples to identify virus DNA.
The biosensor technology developed by the research team can not only detect the presence of the virus but can also identify the individual strain and the number of virus particles present. Using this new technique, testing for viruses could be quicker, simpler and eventually also cheaper. The main benefit to patients would probably be faster treatment.
" This is a significant leap forward in testing for viruses," said Professor Paul Millner of Leeds University's Faculty of Biological Sciences, who supervised the study.
" For the first time we've been able to test for the presence of a whole virus, rather than having to seek out its genetic material, and the first time the number of virus particles has been counted using a lab-on-a-chip device. These are both exciting developments."
Adenovirus is a common virus found in vertebrates and causes many illnesses, from the common cold through to gastroenteritis. People with strong immune systems are not badly affected by the virus, but for those with a compromised or immature immune system - such as small children or HIV sufferers- it can have fatal consequences.
The new technique uses antibodies attached to an electrical sensor. By measuring the sensor's electrical changes, researchers were able to identify how many virus particles were present, and determine the type of virus dependent on its response.
" There's a long way to go before the technology might reach a doctor's surgery, but we've proven the concept," said Rebecca Caygill, the PhD student behind the study.
" We now need to increase the sensitivity of the test and optimise the different stages of the process so that we can consider scaling it up for clinical trials."
Ref. to Paper:
This study is published online by the journal Biosensors & Bioelectronics in a paper entitled: Novel impedimetric immunosensor for the detection and quantitation of adenovirus using reduced antibody fragments immobilized onto a conducting copolymer surface, date 15 Feb 2012.
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University, England (UK)