Health News

New $25 Blood Test Reveals Every Virus You’ve Ever Had

Virus Blood Test

An experimental new blood test called VirScan, which can be performed for as little as $25, reveals just about every single virus a person has ever been exposed to through the analysis of less than a single drop of blood, according to a recently published study.

In the study, which was published in the journal Science, researchers administered the experimental VirScan test to nearly 600 people across four continents and found an average of 10 strains per person.

While many of the strains detected were common ones such as the cold or the flu, TIME notes in a report that at least two of the participants tested positive for 84 strains. It’s worth noting that scientists believe that the test could be expanded to encompass newly discovered viruses as they’re discovered — which is, in essence, how antivirus offset scanners help stifle the spread of computer viruses.

The blood test, which is capable of revealing every virus a person has had over their lifetime, could help researchers trace the spread of viruses.

In total, the test is able to detect past exposure to over 1,000 virus strains and over 206 species — virtually the entire human virome.

As for other applications the test might have, the study’s senior author and a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, Stephen J. Elledge, was quoted by Business Standard as having said that he’s “sure” that there will “be lots of applications we haven’t even dreamed of” because that’s “what happens when you invent technology – you can’t imagine what people will do with it.”

I’m sure there’ll be lots of applications we haven’t even dreamed of (…) That’s what happens when you invent technology – you can’t imagine what people will do with it (…) They’re so clever.

The test does have its limitations, as there are some very small viruses and past infections to which the immune response has dwindled, but all the same, researchers believe that newer versions of the test could be increasingly sensitive.

In other health coverage here at Immortal News, a $249 genetic test developed by Color Genomics could save your life and a $34 smartphone device developed by researchers at Columbia University can accurately test for HIV and syphilis in just 15 minutes.

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