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More Reliable Technique for Detecting Encephalitis Virus in Blood Developed
before March 9, 2006


Every year, from March till October, encephalitis virus transferred by mites rages in the taiga regions of Russia. Ekaterinburg Centre for Disease Diagnostics has necessary gear for detecting tick-borne encephalitis virus in human blood. This gear is foreign and very expensive. The researchers from Chemistry Department of Ural State Economics University (USEU) have had a difficult task – development of a cheap portable sensor for detecting the virus in patient’s blood. Professor A.Z. Brainina heads the project.

According to the technique developed, half milliliter of patient’s vein blood is required for the analysis. Blood is poured to the cup where an electrode with tick-borne encephalitis virus on its surface is placed (serum with virus is prepared in advance using mice infected blood). In several minutes the cup is emptied and again filled with a mixture of protein A and collaurin. Then the electrode is taken out of the cup and gold settled on it is measured. Even a small amount of gold settled on the electrode indicates that virus is present in the patient’s blood.

The point is that an organism produces antibodies after being infected with a virus. One can detect these antibodies by means of a protein – protein A, which anchors only to an antibody. Thus, when the electrode with the virus on its surface is placed in the patient’s blood and then in the protein A solution, first it has antibodies settling down on its surface and then protein A. Collaurin is necessary because it is easy to “capture” and to detect: the electrode has some A protein on the surface, so there are antibodies in the patient’s blood and also the tick-borne encephalitis virus.

T his technique is applied by means of a 20x5 cm device connected to a computer. The results of the analysis can be seen on the screen in an hour after it starts. Currently the scientists from USEU test their development on blood samples, which arrive to the Ekaterinburg Centre for Disease Diagnostics. Preliminary statistics has showed that new device has higher sensitivity than its foreign analogue, i. e. it reacts on a very small amount of antibodies in patient’s blood.

Now the scientists are working on the technical improvement of the device. They expect it to display experimental results omitting computer. And this is the matter of engineering.

Tags: Russian Scientists     

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