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Chips for viral pathogens

Novel approach can help to detect multiple pathogenic viruses in a single versatile assay.

Jonathan Weitzman(jonathanweitzman@hotmail.com)

Easy and reliable viral detection is important in accurate clinical diagnosis, agricultural analysis and monitoring the threat of bioterrorism. In the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, David Wang and colleagues describe a genomics strategy for efficient viral detection using microarrays (PNAS, November 4, 2002, doi/10.1073/pnas.242579699).

To attempt to overcome the limitations imposed by conventional PCR-based detection, Wang et al. designed a long oligonucleotide (70-mer) DNA microarray that can simultaneously detect hundreds of viruses. A random PCR amplification step avoided the need for sequence-specific or degenerate oligonucleotide primers. The microarray was tested with nasal lavage fluid from individuals with respiratory tract infection to demonstrate its efficacy in a clinical setting.

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