RTIs, such as the common cold, are associated with some of the most common viral infections, and increase the risk of an asthma attack in those with the condition. Fifty to 80 percent of asthma exacerbations are precipitated by viral upper RTIs, and yet these viruses are still poorly understood.
The Virochip technique, a DNA microarray or genome chip developed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, uses the most conserved sequences of all known viruses of humans, animals, plants, and microbes for its detection system. The new study is the first to employ this strategy to investigate the viruses associated with RTIs in people with and without asthma.
The study, conducted by Amy Kistler, PhD, and colleagues in California, Illinois, and Missouri, used several methods to test 53 asthmatic and 30 non-asthmatic adults for viruses at various stages of health. Compared to the conventional methods of viral culture and the highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, the Virochip had excellent agreement in terms of identifying viral pathogens, and proved to be both highly sensitive and specific.
The method “detected remarkable and unanticipated diversity” of viruses linked with RTIs and identified “a wholly new branch of the phylogenetic tree,” for the human rhinovirus, one of the causative agents of the common cold virus, Dr. Kistler notes, showing that even with a small test group the Virochip enabled detection of new viruses that were not possible to culture. The researchers also detected 30 distinct known species of rhinoviruses and found that only one of the two coronaviruses thought to be responsible for up to 15 percent of all colds in the United States was detectable in this study population. Instead, two newly described strains of coronaviruses dominated.
These findings are particularly important given the poor understanding of the role of viral diversity in RTIs and in asthma exacerbations. As a next step, Kistler suggested that future groups use the Virochip to continue to accumulate knowledge about such viruses. “The range and depth of viral detection [using the Virochip] is significant, since gaining a comprehensive understanding of the viral pathogen diversity associated with asthma exacerbations may enable the development of specific strategies for treating or preventing asthma exacerbations caused by viral respiratory infection.”
In an accompanying editorial, James E. Gern, MD and William W. Busse, MD of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health agreed that the Virochip assay could prove an excellent new tool for future studies looking to detect and understand novel viruses associated with respiratory illnesses.
Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy