Many of us have become infected with different viruses over the years. My wife and I are recent recipients of the current pandemic virus (a very mild case and resolved within two weeks). Researchers at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina have developed a unique test to detect a virus and determine when it is contagious.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abh2848. The current global pandemic is a perfect example of wanting to know as quickly as possible when a virus is present and when it is contagious. Additionally, understanding the corrective measures to treat a person or the surfaces they touch is critical to stop the spread of disease.
Scientists at the university adapted DNA aptamers to target viruses that cause seasonal influenza and the current SARS-CoV-2. Aptamers are short, single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and bind to many different molecules and live cells.
Our current pandemic virus tests cannot differentiate infectious from noninfectious. Typically, COVID-19 tests detect viral nucleic acids, various antibodies, and antigens individually but cannot use any of these molecules as a biomarker for the level of infectiousness.
Some COVID-19 tests require extended time (days) to create a laboratory environment for the virus to replicate in cell cultures. As a result, a test can often be misinterpreted or misdiagnosed and delay treatment, especially with asymptomatic. When this happens, the asymptomatic person can infect others.
https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/covid-contagious-virus-dna/2021/09/24/id/1037770/. The ssDNA test does not require pretreatment as many other tests do. The aptamer combines with a sensitive solid-state nanopore that can selectively detect infectious viruses for both the human adenovirus and the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Some tests detect the levels of viral RNA. However, there is no correlation between viral RNA and infectiousness. Typically, at the inception of infection, the viral RNA levels are low and often undetectable. This is when a person is highly contagious. At the end of the disease cycle (the person has recovered from the disease), the viral RNA levels increase and are easily detectable by antigen tests. However, the infectiousness at that stage is low.
Aptamers were discovered about twenty years ago. The technology has expanded to distinguish between noninfectious and infectious stages of a viral life cycle. Tweak the ssDNA, and it can target other diseases.
This giant step forward will eventually result in quick tests (less than an hour) at hospitals, pharmacies, and maybe doctor’s offices in the not-too-distant future.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com