Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Quicker testing for viral infections saves money and lives

A new method for quickly identifying individual viruses and recognising how they bind to host cells may become a vital tool in the early control of winter vomiting disease and other virus-based diseases.

In the west, this means saving money and reducing stress on health-care systems. In developing countries, this means saving lives. The method has been jointly developed by researchers at Chalmers and the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Every year hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries suffer from winter vomiting disease or related viral infections. The disease also hits the western world's health care services hard, closing departments and delaying treatments.

All viral infections are caused by an individual virus binding to specific receptors on the surface of a host cell. The thousands of copies of the virus which the host cell produces, quickly attack new cells and illness becomes inevitable. Early identification and understanding of how a virus binds to the cell's surface is vital in overcoming the disease.

Researchers at Chalmers and at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy have now taken an important step towards both making diagnosis more effective and improving options for developing virus-inhibiting drugs. The results, soon to be published in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters, are based on a method developed at Chalmers.

“Briefly, the method makes it possible to identify and study individual viruses, 40 nanometres in size. No other method, based on similar simple analysis, provides the same level of sensitivity without the virus having been modified in some way before the analysis,” says Professor Fredrik Höök who led the study.

At the Sahlgrenska Academy, Professor Göran Larson has succeeded in identifying a number of sugar molecules which bind strongly to the particular virus that causes winter vomiting disease. This knowledge has now been combined with the methodology developed at Chalmers and the result is an opportunity to study in detail the very first contact between a virus and the surface of the cell which contains a number of different sugar molecules.

The increased level of sensitivity offered by this method may make it central to the assessment of drug candidates developed with the aim of preventing the virus from binding to its host cell.

By looking at the weak bindings which are the precursor to the strong interaction which causes the virus to be taken up by the cell, the researchers will also be able to study how the virus mutates year on year. These mutations are one of the causes of increased intensity of outbreaks, making quick diagnosis of new viral strains of vital importance.

Furthermore, as the individual virus can be identified, the researchers hope that it will be possible to attack the very small quantities of virus responsible for spreading the disease, e.g. via drinking water, at an earlier stage than is possible today.

The research is supported by Vinnova, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and Chalmers’ Area of Advance Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

For more information, please contact: 

Professor Göran Larson
Telephone: +46 31 342 13 30, +46 70 625 02 16

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First-time reconstruction of infectious bat influenza viruses

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Amazon rain helps make more rain

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>