UGA researchers use patented SERS technique to rapidly, accurately detect rotavirus strain

May 13, 2010

Using nanotechnology and a patented signal enhancing technique developed at the University of Georgia, UGA researchers have discovered a rapid, sensitive and cost-effective method to detect and identify a number of rotavirus strains and genotypes in less than one minute with greater than 96 percent accuracy.

In their study, Ralph A. Tripp and Jeremy D. Driskell, researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine's department of infectious diseases, and Yiping Zhao and Richard Dluhy, researchers in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences departments of physics and chemistry, utilized surface enhanced Raman scattering, or SERS, to detect and quantify Group A rotaviruses.

Group A rotaviruses are the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children, infecting approximately 130 million children annually. Rotavirus infections are responsible for approximately 2 million hospitalizations and more than 500,000 deaths each year, and are particularly burdensome on health care resources in developing countries. Clinical diagnostic tests currently used to detect rotavirus do not provide information on the genotypes, which is essential for aiding public health officials in monitoring epidemics, identifying novel strains and controlling disease.

Tripp and Driskell worked with the most commonly identified strains of , provided by Carl D. Kirkwood of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, at the Royal Children's Hospital in Parkville, Australia, to show that SERS can detect and identify numerous virus strains and genotypes in less than 30 seconds, without the need to amplify the analyte for detection. Their technique requires no or minimal specimen preparation for analysis and uses minimal volumes of analyte.

"Nanotechnology has provided a considerable advance in diagnostic and prognostic capabilities," noted Tripp. "The technology strengthens and expands current diagnostic applications by providing a means to enhance existing technology for novel applications such as SERS detection of viruses. The field of diagnostics and biosensing has been pushed dramatically forward by our ability to now amplify and detect the molecular fingerprints of pathogens as opposed to amplifying the pathogens for detection."

The findings from the UGA research team are important as most enteric viruses produce diseases that are not readily distinct from other pathogens and diagnostics are generally limited to attempts at viral culture, antibody-mediated antigen detection and polymerase chain reaction. These methods are cumbersome, often have limited breadth and sensitivity in detection and/or offer limited information on genotype.

SERS works by measuring the change in frequency of a near-infrared laser as it scatters off viral nucleic acid and protein components. This change in frequency, named the Raman shift for the scientist who discovered it in 1928, is as distinct as a fingerprint.

Explore further: Scientists identify critical new protein complex involved in learning and memory

More information: The study was published in PLoS ONE on April 19.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rotavirus can spread beyond the intestine

Apr 17, 2007

A new study in PLoS Medicine has shown that children who have rotavirus, a very common cause of diarrhea in children, and who have antigens (protein fragments from the surface of the virus) in their blood, also have infect ...

ORNL nanoprobe creates world of new possibilities

Jul 15, 2004

A technology with proven environmental, forensics and medical applications has received a shot in the arm because of an invention by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORNL's nanoprobe, which ...

Early detection of human papilloma and other viral infections

Oct 15, 2007

Scientists in Iowa are reporting development of a new, amazingly sensitive method for identifying the earliest stages of infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), a common virus that can increase the risk of cervical cancer ...

Recommended for you

How the body fights against viruses

18 hours ago

Scientists of the Max F. Perutz Laboratories of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, together with colleagues of the ETH Zurich, have now shown how double stranded RNA, such as viral ...

Fast way to measure DNA repair

Apr 22, 2014

Our DNA is under constant attack from many sources, including environmental pollutants, ultraviolet light, and radiation. Fortunately, cells have several major DNA repair systems that can fix this damage, ...

Protein expression gets the heart pumping

Apr 22, 2014

Most people think the development of the heart only happens in the womb, however the days and weeks following birth are full of cellular changes that play a role in the structure and function of the heart. ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Computer screening could help patients and healthcare

A trial of a new patient care model, which uses over-the-phone consultations and computers to help better understand the needs of the patient, has begun this week, led by researchers at the University of Adelaide.

In the 'slime jungle' height matters

(Phys.org) —In communities of microbes, akin to 'slime jungles', cells evolve not just to grow faster than their rivals but also to push themselves to the surface of colonies where they gain the best access ...

Robot scouts rooms people can't enter

(Phys.org) —Firefighters, police officers and military personnel are often required to enter rooms with little information about what dangers might lie behind the door. A group of engineering students at ...

New alfalfa variety resists ravenous local pest

(Phys.org) —Cornell plant breeders have released a new alfalfa variety with some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle, which has ravaged alfalfa fields in nine northern New York counties and across ...