Study brings diagnostics for viruses a step closer to reality

Feb 14, 2012

Scientists have developed a technique which could form the basis of a non-invasive diagnostic for Adenovirus – the virus responsible for a large number of common illnesses.

The biosensor technology developed by researchers at the University of Leeds can not only detect the presence of the virus, it can also identify the individual strain and the number of virus particles present.

The study underpinning this research is published on Feb. 15 in the journal Biosensors & Bioelectronics.

Currently, testing for viruses is complicated, time consuming and requires specialist preparation of samples to identify virus DNA. Using this new technique, testing for viruses could be much quicker, simpler and ultimately less costly. For patients, this sort of diagnostic would mean faster treatment.

"This is a significant leap forward in testing for viruses," says Professor Paul Millner of the 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 device. These are both exciting developments."

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 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," says 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."

Explore further: Space-tested fluid flow concept advances infectious disease diagnoses

More information: 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.

Related Stories

Why do some influenza virus subtypes die out?

Nov 14, 2011

Every so often we hear about a new strain of influenza virus which has appeared and in some cases may sweep across the globe in a pandemic, much as the H1N1 virus did last year. What happens to the old seasonal viruses? In ...

Structure of hepatitis B virus mapped

Jul 28, 2008

Using a newly developed method, Utrecht University researchers have mapped the structure and composition of the hepatitis B virus. The researchers were able to map the structure by spraying the virus.

Molecular anatomy of influenza virus detailed

Dec 30, 2006

Scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville ...

Insight into HIV immunity may lead to vaccine

May 06, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Latest insights into immunity to HIV could help to develop a vaccine to build antibodies’ defences against the disease, a University of Melbourne study has found.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

More news stories

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...