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New test uses a single drop of blood to reveal entire history of viral infections

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Bob, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. Bob

    Bob

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    New test uses a single drop of blood to reveal entire history of viral infections
    The Guardian
    4th June 2015
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/...-to-reveal-entire-history-of-viral-infections

    Extract:
     
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  2. Simon

    Simon

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    Works by engineering mutant viruses that display bits of all known human viruses - sort of wide-ranging mimic - and then seeing if the blood samples have antibodies that bind these viruses
    Science paper: Comprehensive serological profiling of human populations using a synthetic human virome
    Abstract
    The human virome plays important roles in health and immunity. However, current methods for detecting viral infections and antiviral responses have limited throughput and coverage. Here, we present VirScan, a high-throughput method to comprehensively analyze antiviral antibodies using immunoprecipitation and massively parallel DNA sequencing of a bacteriophage library displaying proteome-wide peptides from all human viruses. We assayed over 108 antibody-peptide interactions in 569 humans across four continents, nearly doubling the number of previously established viral epitopes. We detected antibodies to an average of 10 viral species per person and 84 species in at least two individuals. Although rates of specific virus exposure were heterogeneous across populations, antibody responses targeted strongly conserved “public epitopes” for each virus, suggesting that they may elicit highly similar antibodies. VirScan is a powerful approach for studying interactions between the virome and the immune system.
     
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  3. L'engle

    L'engle moogle

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    Does anyone know if the viruses commonly present in PWME are in the 1000 viruses scanned?
     
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  4. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    Maybe we should put in a grant application to do this test on 200 patients and 200 controls from the ME Biobank, with blinded samples (that's $10,000 of tests but that's not a big deal). The Biobank needs using, or will do fairly soon. I have some slight technical reservations about the methodology but it is likely to be reasonably robust as a screen.
     
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  5. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    Music to my ears. How about an international study to assess similarities and differences?
     
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  6. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

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    Why not?
     
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  7. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    Since this test seems to meet with your approval @Jonathan Edwards , I think this is wonderfully productive idea. Providing the grant application is timely, it could yield some rather quick results that could be enlightening.
     
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  8. Bob

    Bob

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    We might be able to raise that in a crowdfund within a few weeks. If getting a grant is a potential roadblock.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  9. Bob

    Bob

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    I can't see any reason not to do this, but just a note is caution - screening for viruses has been carried out regularly, with no conclusive results, so perhaps we shouldn't expect any consistent results. But the results from 200 patients and controls might throw up some interesting surprises nevertheless.

    Edit: Actually, please ignore that pessimistic comment - I got confused and thought the test was for only 100 viruses, not 1000! That scale of testing has never been carried out on ME patients - nowhere near it! Testing for 1000 viruses on 200 patients could be very interesting indeed! It might also be interesting to look for antibodies that we don't carry, compared with controls, as well as those we do carry. (Faulty immune systems and faulty B cells may not provide the correct antibodies, in enough quantities, to order?)
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  10. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Possible that reduced social contact will mean reduced number of infections?

    Could being run-down (for all manner of reasons) mean that you're more susceptible for infection?

    I have next to no idea about viruses, but am just wondering what sort of control group would be best to compare with CFS patients to see if there is anything particularly unusual about CFS patients and viruses.
     
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  11. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member

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    Seems like it would be a good idea to screen patients who were involved in one of the recorded outbreaks to see if they share one or more of the specific strains of influenza virus in existence at that time. Of course, I imagine that the test can only detect strains that are known to have existed. I don't suspect that they can know of every low prevalence mutation.
     
  12. Bob

    Bob

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    Some more info here...

    $25 blood test identifies any virus you've ever had
    WIRED
    4th June 2015
    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-06/04/virscan-tests-for-all-human-viruses

    Note the comment about "chronic fatigue" in the extract below; They're thinking what we're thinking. (Stephen Elledge, quoted below, of Harvard Medical School, is the co-author of the Science paper. And Tomasz Kula, quoted below, is a graduate student working in Elledge's lab.)

    Extracts (my bolding):
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  13. Bob

    Bob

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    Another article with perhaps a tiny bit more background...

    In the extract that I've quoted below, it says that they're also using the technique to look for certain auto-antibodies associated with cancer. But it's not clear to me exactly what they are referring to...

    VirScan reveals your viral infection history in a single drop of blood
    Medical Xpress.
    4th June 2015
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-06-viral-infection-history-blood.html

    Extract:
     
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  14. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    When we lose seroconversion, and this happens a lot in ME and CFS patients, then we lose the antibodies. Many of us test positive at one point then negative after that. We do not know why this happens, except that its probably a B cell issue. In this case the test in this thread will give a false negative. There is also the issue of low affinity antibodies, I am not sure how this test will go with those.
     
  15. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    While I would also like to see what this test shows about ME/CFS patients in the biobank, I want to add a caution about relying on this for individual patient tests rather than for statistical associations in a group. I would also like to see results stratified w.r.t. to time since onset, because we now have evidence some type of immune exhaustion sets in after three years.

    The caution expressed above concerning chickenpox may be highly relevant to ME/CFS because VZV virus remains latent in places like dorsal root ganglia for years, and is not really found in peripheral blood between acute infection and appearance of "shingles" at some uncertain future date.
     
  16. Mark

    Mark Former CEO

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    The prospect of a quick, cheap, yet well-designed study using this test sounds extremely appealing to me. :) Patient selection and profiling would be a very important issue indeed of course. I wonder if it might make sense to try to compare some subgroups within the study? Be able to see how viral load (and virus types) vary with degree of severity (measured somehow ???) and case definitions? I guess you can't go too far with this or you lose statistical power, but I don't really understand the limitations on this aspect of study design, are there any rules of thumb on how far one can go with sub-studies? (And btw the implications of assessing the stats for over 1000 strains sound hairy, but I guess we can handle the necessary error-correction here?).
     
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  17. Bob

    Bob

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    The information gained from such study would be useful for the biobank to include in its own records, if appropriate data-privacy permissions are sought, as the results may potentially help to create useful subgroups for any other future studies using the biobank samples.
     
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  18. mango

    mango Senior Member

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    Interesting to see Suzanne D. Vernon's name and Solve ME/CFS Initiative among the authors :)
     
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  19. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    While we are not getting any richer the costs of many biomedical tests seem to be declining as fast as computer costs. So I expect this will not be the only test we can consider doing some kind of study with. Just maybe the first.
     
  20. voner

    voner Senior Member

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    my guess is that the SolveME/CFS initiative supplied samples from their bio bank? it seems that almost all the other authors are from university-based research institutions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2015
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