Latest in Science

Image credit:

Harvard researchers trial cheap, efficient paper-based Zika test

It could get results in hours instead of the days or weeks it takes current tests.
22 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Based on the paper-based sensors they made to detect viral-based pathogens like Ebola, a Wyss Institute at Harvard research team created a version that checks for Zika. This prototype method could reveal the presence of the disease in hours instead of the days or weeks it takes for blood tests, but it needs more refining before it's accurate enough to be deployed.

Put simply, the new test is strips of paper embedded with a synthetic biomolecular sensor made of genes and proteins that change color if they detect their target -- in this case, Zika -- and can tell the difference between that virus and other mosquito-spread illnesses like Dengue. But a crucial improvement over the previous version is the new one's ability to detect traces of the* disease in blood, urine or saliva.

While the color change can be seen with the naked eye like a home pregnancy test, researchers also designed an electronic reader that can get faster results than eyeballing. After some developments, it could quantify viral loads.

Once they refine the test, the researchers see this method as a platform. By changing the target the test's genes and proteins are hunting for, a new diagnostic can be designed, tested, validated and deployed in a week, say the researchers.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
22 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2019 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
SpaceX successfully completes Crew Dragon engine tests without an explosion

SpaceX successfully completes Crew Dragon engine tests without an explosion

View
Walmart's early Black Friday deal: 512GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro for $599

Walmart's early Black Friday deal: 512GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro for $599

View
Motorola's revived RAZR is a fashion-forward foldable

Motorola's revived RAZR is a fashion-forward foldable

View
Mark Wahlberg is poised to join the 'Uncharted' movie

Mark Wahlberg is poised to join the 'Uncharted' movie

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr