Researchers Develop Effective, Low-cost Zika Diagnosis Tool

Published By : 29 Jun 2018 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

The Zika virus continues to remain a public health concern due to the several neurological complications and microcephaly it causes in children born to mothers who were infected by the virus during pregnancy. Thus research activities aimed at the development of an effective treatment for the virus are strife.

One such research activities, undertaken by researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, is on the way of developing a new way of diagnosing the virus accurately and quickly with the help of mobile health technologies. This remote way of diagnosing Zika infections could help the easy detection of the virus and patient-base across areas that have limited resources. The researchers also hope that the new tool will allow convenient diagnosis of Zika infections at homes for couples trying to conceive, especially in areas that have a high risk of the infection.

Conventional technologies for diagnosing the virus mostly rely on the detection of antibodies that are known to target Zika in the patients’ bloodstream. This method leads to unclear results and carries a high rate of false positive results as several other closely related viruses, such as dengue, can stimulate the production of similar kinds of antibodies. The researchers, however, have taken a new approach-detecting intact copies of the virus with the help of platinum nanometers, capable of targeting the virus, as well as microbeads that bind Zika.

Adding both the components to a sample infected with Zika, a 3D complex is formed that moves in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. A smartphone with a $5 optical device can easily detect the movement. Based on this movement, it can be easily determined whether the sample is infected by Zika or other closely related viruses with the help of the uniqueness of motion signal. The 3D Zika complex rapidly moves. Other viruses, however, will lead to slower motion. This can be easily differentiation by the smartphone detection system for providing a very specific diagnosis.

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