ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A method for detecting new viruses has been developed in St. Louis.

Dr. Adrian Bisceglie, chairman of the internal medicine department at Saint Louis University, says they used a new technology known as “ultra-deep sequencing” to examine blood samples.

“With this you find little short fragments of RNA and DNA,” he explained. “Then we compare those short fragments, hundreds of thousands of them, to known sequences of other viruses or bacteria or even the human genome.”

Anything left over is, by definition, a previously unidentified virus.

Bisceglie says practical applications could include identifying emerging viruses such as the SARS-like illness currently spreading through Saudi Arabia.

He adds the new method developed at SLU could also be used to counteract terrorism by quickly detecting existing bio-threats.


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