A remarkable viral antibody test known as “VirScan” has been created, but the research demonstrating the test’s capabilities showed some surprising results. The Inquisitr reported on the viral antibody test when news first broke. Dr. Stephen Elledge, a Harvard researcher who led the antibody test study, said that the test might not be absolutely perfect yet because in his study, some viruses he would expect people to have antibodies against didn’t turn up in the blood as often as he would have expected.
Elledge said that his team detected evidence of antibodies against the viral illness influenza in only 53.4 percent of the blood samples they tested. Antibodies against Poliovirus were only detected in 33.7 percent of the blood samples they examined with the new viral antibody test.
Elledge and his team reportedly wrote that those results were significantly lower than the team had expected to find “given that the majority of the population has been exposed to or vaccinated against these viruses.”
Less than a quarter of the blood samples detected antibodies to fight against varicella, better known as chickenpox, the team explained. It could be that VirScan still needs to be tweaked, but the researchers say that when they checked for antibodies against the viruses HIV and hepatitis C, it detected antibodies in almost everyone who was known to have been infected. In fact, the detection of the antibodies against these viral infections was between 95 and 100 percent accurate. Elledge said that the VirScan also never showed false-positive results.
Everything checked out accurate and as to be expected with the rare viruses as well, according to NBC News. Antibody responses against the “highly virulent viruses such as Marburg and bat lyssavirus” were found, as expected, in less than 0.4 percent of those tested from around the globe.
New Scientist explained the premise of the antibody test very simply.
“When a virus infects us, our immune cells respond by producing antibodies that neutralise it when they bind to specific proteins on its surface. These antibodies continue to be made long after the virus has been cleared from our body, ready to mount a quicker response should it return.
“This means that their presence can act as a viral footprint – a clue that the viruses they target were once in the bloodstream. To test whether someone has been infected with a virus, expose a sample of their blood to a viral protein. If antibodies target it then the virus has infected the person in the past.”
Elledge believes the tests, which will most likely cost a mere 25 dollars, will be capable of detecting a past antibody response against all 206 different viruses and their various strains that are known to infect humans.
VirScan reportedly detects evidence of antibodies in the blood whether the antibodies were activated by vaccination or by an immune response from a viral infection.
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