VirScan Blood Test Reveals Entire Viral History

A new blood test called VirScan may reveal every virus you've ever had and this could be a new path in the area of precision or personalized medicine integrated with prevention. 


This experimental test (VirScan) detected 206 virus species known to infect humans and more than 1,000 know virus strains simply by testing a small amount of blood, according to the journal, Science. Scientists tested VirScan on almost 600 people in four continents including people from the U.S., South Africa, Thailand and Peru and detected an average of 10 strains per person, many of which were common like the cold or flu.

VirScan screens the blood for antibodies against 206 species of viruses known to affect humans. As the body's immune system detects a virus, it creates specific antibodies to fight it off. VirScan identifies these and uses them as a blueprint to compile a list of viruses a person may have contracted. 

Researches from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School believe VirScan could help lead to earlier detection of illnesses like hepatitis C, while also leading to a clearer understanding for what triggers autoimmune diseases. 

From this study, they were able to detect that certain viruses were more present in adults versus children. The blood test also detected people infected with HIV and that they actually had more antibodies against more viruses than others. 

The VirScan  analysis is currently available for $25, but the price may increase if it becomes commercially available. Patients can expect their results within two to three days.

These findings could help scientists trace how viruses spread. Simply with one blood test that analyzes less than a single drop of blood can now reveal every virus people have over the course of their lifetime.

What does the future hold? It could help doctors trace the genesis of viruses and how they spread and scientists already have led on to say they believe the test could be expanded as new ones are discovered.