Researchers from Harvard University have developed a high-throughput method called VirScan to detect infections from >200 viral species including 1000 strains from less than a drop of blood.
Researchers designed close to 100,000 overlapping peptides from 206 known viruses to display on bacteriophages. By sequencing the bacteriophage bound to antiviral antibodies, researchers were able to discern which viruses an individual’s immune system recognized. VirScan was characterized on 569 human donors from four continents, and the test detected antibodies to an average of 10 virus species per person and a maximum of 84 species in two samples. Test performance was variable between viruses and requires further refining. Although VirScan is cost-effective, further work is needed to examine its utility for the blood banking community.