A blood test that can accurately and rapidly diagnose respiratory viral infections has been developed by a research team from Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and Duke University Medical Center in US.
The blood test evaluates a person’s distinct blood signature to identify the viral infection.
During the study, researchers assessed the blood of healthy individuals who were exposed to rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus or influenza, and found out that each viral infection generated a specific immune response, forming a blood signature.
By recording the distinct blood signature for each virus and matching the signatures against blood samples of other patients, the researchers were able to detect infections quickly and with more than 95% accuracy.
Study researcher Dr Aimee Zaas said that if developed further, the findings could be used in emergency departments and primary care clinics to diagnose respiratory viral illness.
“This could allow patients quicker access to antiviral drugs, but could also give an accurate warning of an upcoming pandemic,” Zaas added.