Washington: An Indian-origin scientist has developed a new technology which is showing promise as the basis for a much-needed home test to diagnose influenza quickly.
Suri Iyer, of Georgia State University in Atlanta, and University of Cincinnati colleague Allison Weiss, explained that such a fast, inexpensive diagnostic test - similar to the quick throat swabs for strep throat and to home pregnancy tests - is especially important for flu, as it helps select the most effective drug for treatment.
Iyer’a different approach involves using carbohydrates to detect the antigens, and has advantages over antibody-based approaches. Flu viruses have two major antigens, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, which determine the specific strain of flu virus.
The researcher explained how the new test technology uses various forms of carbohydrates that can capture the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, and via a colour change or other signal, indicate both infection and the specific type or strain of flu virus.
Information on the strain would be important, enabling doctors to pick the most effective antiviral drug. The new approach has other potential advantages, including quicker results, lower cost and greater reliability, he said.
The study was presented at the 246th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).