What if one simple blood test could tell a doctor everything they needed to know about the medical history of a person, as it pertains to the viruses that they have contracted throughout their lifetime? Whether the person is an infant, entering adulthood, or nearing the ending of their life – the potential benefits that this type of blood test could have is profound. Researchers say that the blood test can comb the more than 1,000 strains of viruses from a whopping 206 species that are currently known to effect humans. The experts say that this is essentially the entire lot of viruses that exist, and even as new viruses enter the medical community, it will likely be able to account for them as well.
That being said, what would make this test even better? Researchers also say that in addition to being insanely effective at rooting out viruses, even those which are no longer impacting a person – the blood test is incredibly affordable. It costs just $25 for this all-inclusive blood test that can literally identify any virus that a person has ever contracted in their lifetime.
Stephen J. Elledge, the senior author of the report and a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School pointed out that, “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.”
That’s what is so impressive about this particular piece of technology. While there is virtually no limit to the good that can be done with this blood test, the medical community stands to gain the most. As more insights can be gained into the viruses that infect humans, and how they can be combated in the long-term.
Dr. William Schaffner, who is an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University pointed out that, “This will be a treasure trove for communicable disease epidemiology. It will be like the introduction of the electron microscope. It will allow us to have more resolution at a micro level.” One of the first potential avenues of exploration for those in the medical community would be better understanding the ages at which people are ultimately exposed to these viruses. Large scale tests could be put into operation with this type of blood test and then there would be even better scientific data to support the growth that would be taking place in the medical community.
Dr. Ellege went on to point out that, “While not perfect, we think this method represents a very large step forward toward the goal of comprehensive analysis of viral infections.” This is a powerful step forward in the medical community, and this is a major opportunity for success in making the world a better place.