Home News Harvard Researchers Are Testing A Paper-Based Zika Test

Harvard Researchers Are Testing A Paper-Based Zika Test

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Harvard researchers are trying out a cheap and efficient paper-based Zika test. A research team led by synthetic biologist James Collins, Ph.D., at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University created a paper-based diagnostic system for strain-specific detection of the Zika virus, based on the same concept used to detect viral-based pathogens like Ebola. The paper-based sensor reduces the wait time for getting a Zika virus test result from days or weeks to a couple of hours.

paperbasedzikatest

The growing global health crisis caused by the Zika virus propelled us to leverage novel technologies we have developed in the lab and use them to create a workflow that could diagnose a patient with Zika, in the field, within 2-3 hours,James Collins, Ph.D.

The new test James Collins, Ph.D., and his team are working on is currently in its prototype phase, it consists strips of paper embedded with a synthetic biomolecular sensor made of genes and proteins that change color if they detect their target. The test is also able to differentiate between the Zika virus and other mosquito-spread illnesses like Dengue. If all goes well, the goal is to get these affordable paper-based Zika test used in the field to screen blood, urine, or saliva samples.