A blood transfusion can be a life-saving gift – but if that blood unwittingly contains a deadly virus, it can kill instead of cure. Medical staff therefore needs to be able to quickly and easily screen blood for viruses and a new system developed by researchers in China can do just that: it checks for three viruses – HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B – all at once and could even be adapted for more.
The quickest way to test a sample for viruses is by looking for their DNA or RNA –unlike antibody based tests this doesn’t need to wait for the body’s immune response to kick in before showing a result. Nongyue He’s team at Southwest University uses a process called amplification to multiply several viruses’ DNA or RNA at the same time, making enough to generate a strong signal when tested.
Read the full story by Susannah May in Chemistry World.
This article is free to access until 16 January 2016.
Z Ali et al, Biomater. Sci., 2017. DOI: 10.1039/C6BM00527F