DNA Sensor Can Spot When COVID Is Contagious

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A new DNA sensor can detect viruses and tell if they are infectious or not in minutes, a new study finds.

The sensor was developed by using DNA technology, and does not require the need to pretreat test samples. Researchers demonstrated this technique with the human adenovirus (which causes colds and flu) and the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The infectivity status is very important information that can tell us if patients are contagious or if an environmental disinfection method works,” said researcher Ana Peinetti, who did the work while a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

“We developed these highly specific DNA molecules, named aptamers, that not only recognize viruses but also can differentiate the infectivity status of the virus,” Peinetti said in a university news release. She now leads a research group at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Researcher Yi Lu, a professor emeritus of chemistry at UIUC, explained how current measures of viral RNA may not be an accurate indicator of contagiousness.

“With the virus that causes COVID-19, it has been shown that the level of viral RNA has minimal correlation with the virus’s infectivity. In the early stage when a person is infected, the viral RNA is low and difficult to detect, but the person is highly contagious,” he said in the release.

“When a person is recovered and not infectious, the viral RNA level can be very high. Antigen tests follow a similar pattern, though even later than viral RNA. Therefore, viral RNA and antigen tests are both poor in informing whether a virus is infectious or not. It may result in delayed treatment or quarantine, or premature release of those who may still be contagious,” Lu said.

The new sensor method can produce results in 30 minutes to two hours. Because it requires no treatment of the sample, it can be used on viruses that will not grow in the lab.

“We chose human adenovirus to demonstrate our sensor because it is an emerging waterborne viral pathogen of concern in the United States and throughout the world,” said researcher Benito Marinas, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UIUC.


“The capability to detect infectious adenovirus in the presence of viruses rendered noninfectious by water disinfectants, and other potentially interfering background substances in wastewaters and contaminated natural waters, provides an unprecedented novel approach. We see potential for such technology to provide more robust protection of environmental and public health,” Marinas said.

The sensing technique could be applied to other viruses, the researchers said, by tweaking the DNA to target different pathogens.

With the ability to distinguish noninfectious from infectious viruses, the researchers hope the sensor could help in understanding the mechanisms of infection.

The report was published Sept. 22 in the journal Science Advances.

More information

The U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute has more on viruses.

SOURCE: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, news release, Sept. 22, 2021

Note: This article have been indexed to our site. We do not claim ownership or copyright of any of the content above. To see the article at original source Click Here

Related Posts
BA.5 Means Now Is Not the Time to Relax About COVID thumbnail

BA.5 Means Now Is Not the Time to Relax About COVID

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test is no longer required to enter most countries, including the U.S.; every state has dropped its mask mandate; and 66% of Americans recently said they feel as though their lives are at least somewhat the same to how they were pre-pandemic. Yet cases and hospitalizations are rising—again. The pandemic…
Read More
Modern: The booster raises the levels of antibodies against the omicron tens of times thumbnail

Modern: The booster raises the levels of antibodies against the omicron tens of times

חברת מודרנה דיווחה אתמול (ב') בהודעה מיוחדת למשקיעים ובעלי המניות כי מנת הבוסטר מאושרת ה-FDA שלה במינון של 5 מ"ג (µg of mRNA-1273 50) וגם המינון הכפול (  µg booster 100 ) מעלים משמעותית את רמת הנוגדנים אצל מקבל התרכיב שיכולים להגן מפני הדבקה בווריאנט האומיקרון, המתפשט בעולם במהירות. נתוני המחקר שערכה החברה לא פורסמו…
Read More
The Challenge, Promise of Getting Oral COVID Drugs Into Practice thumbnail

The Challenge, Promise of Getting Oral COVID Drugs Into Practice

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center. As the pandemic wears on, with new concerns and uncertainty around the Omicron variant, attention toward therapeutics is intensifying — particularly oral medications that could be offered readily to outpatients to keep their disease from worsening. "An effective oral agent has…
Read More
HPV Rates Skyrocket Despite Safe, Effective Vaccine thumbnail

HPV Rates Skyrocket Despite Safe, Effective Vaccine

Please enable cookies. Error 1005 Ray ID: 7f3cca417a9d4278 • 2023-08-09 03:07:39 UTC What happened? The owner of this website (www.webmd.com) has banned the autonomous system number (ASN) your IP address is in (47583) from accessing this website. Was this page helpful? Thank you for your feedback! Cloudflare Ray ID: 7f3cca417a9d4278 • Your IP: •
Read More

WHO validates Malawi for eliminating trachoma, first country in southern Africa

Brazzaville/Lilongwe – World Health Organization (WHO) has validated Malawi as having eliminated trachoma—a bacterial eye infection that can cause irreversible blindness if untreated—as a public health problem. Malawi becomes the first country in southern Africa and the fifth in Africa to achieve this significant milestone. “Malawi’s achievement is life-changing for millions of children who were at
Read More
Index Of News