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Fresh findings about chickenpox could lead to better blood tests

Date:
June 11, 2010
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Fresh understanding of the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles could lead to improved vaccines and diagnostic tests, a study suggests.

Fresh understanding of the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles could lead to improved vaccines and diagnostic tests, a study suggests.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh devised a technique to separate the virus into its constituent proteins and then print them on to a biochip, before incubating the chip with blood from people who had previously had the infection.

They were able to pinpoint which proteins in the virus triggered a reaction in the body's immune system, giving scientists clues about how best to design a vaccine or blood test.

Researchers say the results may help create a test that offers improved sensitivity and earlier detection of infection compared with conventional tests. It would also offer accurate results in cases which might previously have been ambiguous, such as in vaccinated patients or patients with a pre-existing complaint.

Presently there is no test to show if an individual has acquired immunity against the virus through vaccination or a previous infection, and therefore determine if they are at risk of chickenpox or a secondary infection, which causes shingles. Such a test could show whether an elderly person would benefit from a booster vaccine to prevent shingles.

Dr Colin Campbell of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: "This study has allowed us to look in great detail at the virus which causes chickenpox and we now know enough to design a better blood test than those currently available. This could help protect people for whom the infection represents a serious risk, such as pregnant women and elderly people with weak immune systems."

The research, also involving Dr Juergen Haas of the University of Edinburgh, was a collaboration with Arizona State University and the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. It was supported by EaStCHEM and published in Molecular Biosystems.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alessandro Ceroni, Sahar Sibani, Armin Baiker, Venkata Raveendra Pothineni, Susanne M. Bailer, Joshua LaBaer, Jόrgen Haas, Colin J. Campbell. Systematic analysis of the IgG antibody immune response against varicella zoster virus (VZV) using a self-assembled protein microarray. Molecular BioSystems, 2010; DOI: 10.1039/c003798b

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Fresh findings about chickenpox could lead to better blood tests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211138.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2010, June 11). Fresh findings about chickenpox could lead to better blood tests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211138.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Fresh findings about chickenpox could lead to better blood tests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608211138.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

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